It’s taken a few days to digest the impressive nature of the whooping MSU’s defense laid on Ohio State last Saturday. I keep looking at the box score and see a number NINE in the sack column, followed by a 13.0 in the tackles for loss department. Then, without fail, I slap myself in the face in amazement.
However, putting the defensive effort into perspective is kind of hard for a few reasons. One, it was against a run-first quarterback (Braxton Miller) who was making his second collegiate start. Two, it came against an offensive line which had allowed 5 sacks for 30 yards in the previous four games. And three – the most impressive reason in my mind – it wasn’t just two or three guys doing all of the damage. It was EVERYONE! But of course, to have the nation’s top ranked defensive, everyone needs to be involved.
After Saturday’s defensive beat down of Ohio State, the Spartans still rank tops in the nation in total defense, allowing just 173.4 yards per game. If you combine that with MSU’s potent offense (398 ypg), the Spartans outgain their opponents by just over 224 yards per [..]
If there’s a bigger game on Michigan State’s remaining schedule than this weekend’s tilt with Ohio State, please fill me in.
Yes, the subsequent schedule of top-20 opponents in Michigan, Wisconsin, and a road tilt at Nebraska loom large in the month of October. And yes, each one is big in its own right. (Maybe “big” isn’t quite the correct term for it. I’ve heard people call it the “Murderer’s Row Schedule” and the “Ides of October”)
But in my mind this game isn’t just important for Michigan State. It’s more than that because of the chain reaction effect it could have on the rest of the season. With a win, the Spartans can say, “You know what, despite our deficiencies on special teams thus far and the lack of continuity along the o-line, we’ve come together, improved and won a big game.”
Also, do you know what a win would do for the confidence of a team and a program that in recent years has struggled to play well in some of its bigger road games? Even more, how about a win at Ohio State? It hasn’t been done since 1998, and remains the loan team in conference – aside from Nebraska – [..]
For the first time in the Mark Dantonio era player availability to the media has been cut off. And yes, all of us in the media have been speculating (a lot of complaining too) about the reason over the last 24 hours. However, at today’s press conference, we received some answers…I think.
“I feel like I don't want them in a compromising situation this week,” said Dantonio. “We've got a lot of players from Ohio, we've got guys with pressure on them, and they don't need the additional pressure.”
This article on Marcus Rush from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press might’ve been one of the reasons. (In case you missed it)
Dantonio went on to say: “I think there's pressure on a lot of points in our program. I think our quarterback gets asked a lot of questions. (He's) constantly, constantly talking to the media, and he needs to play well and he needs to get away from that. He needs to relax.”
So there you have it. Take it or leave it. For this week, we in the media will have to take it. But some may not leave it alone. I for one, will.
INFORMATION THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS
-It sounds like [..]