The Skinny: Michigan State Spartans (MSU) (4-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) lose to University of Iowa 19-16 in Double Overtime
Next game: MSU vs. University of Michigan (4-2, 2-0 in Big Ten), Saturday October 20th, 2012 at Ann Arbor, MI. Game time 3:30p.m. on Big Ten Network
Series Notes: UofM leads all-time series 67-32-5; MSU have won four in a row, including last year’s 28-14 victory at Spartan Stadium.
On a cold and rain soaked Saturday afternoon Homecoming game, the Spartans faithful watched an all to familiar theme play out in front of them. The defense played well but not well enough, while the offense again continued to show little ability to put more than a few points on the board. Had the defense not come up with an interception at the Iowa 26, the offense would have scored only six points all day! The end result was a 19-16 double overtime defeat to Legends Division rival Iowa Hawkeyes.
Andrew Maxwell’s tipped ball interception in the Spartans second overtime possession gave the Hawkeyes a victory in a game that they were otherwise outplayed. The Spartans outgained the Hawkeyes 328-257 and had the lead for the entire game, until the Hawkeyes scored a touchdown with 55 seconds left in the 4th quarter. From there the Spartans offense again stalled in the red zone, settling for a field goal in their first O.T. possession. The Hawkeyes went on to score two field goals in a row in their O.T. possessions. Maxwell’s first pass in the second O.T. completed the late game collapse.
Here’s a telling statistic from the last two seasons that will shed light on the Spartans current struggles. MSU went 21-1 in 2010 and 2011 when they scored over 25 pts. This year, their offense has accomplished that twice, vs. Indiana and Central Michigan. The Spartans have five games left and given how their offense is currently performing they may not score over 20 pts. again.
True freshman, Aaron Burbridge is the only Spartan deep threat this year. Burbridge again came up big on Saturday with five receptions for 89 yards. Unfortunately it’s going to take more than Burbridge’s amazing leaping ability to get this offense moving. For this team to make this even a respectable season by Spartan standards either one of two things must change. MSU offensive coordinator Dan Roushar must allow Maxwell to take chances down the field to loosen up opposing defenses and/or 2. The Spartans must score more touchdowns when in the red zone. In their lose on Saturday they settled for field goals after drives stalled at the Hawkeyes 5, 6 and 7 yard line.
The Spartans came into the season with high expectations to repeat as Legends Division Champions and finally win an outright Big Ten Championship. Those hopes hinge completely on this Saturday’s game against Michigan. If the offense doesn’t find a spark soon, I don’t think plans should be made to go anywhere in January except for maybe a trip to Ford Field for a not so honorable Pizza Bowl.
About the Author
Written by Andre' Wiegand
A life long Michigan State University Spartan fan! My grandfather played on the Spartan O-Line back in 1951 and my family has been Spartan fans since. 1999 M.S.U. graduate (JMC). Currently live in Grand Rapids, MI with my wife and two sons.