Saturday afternoon in sunny E. Lansing, 13 Seniors had the perfect setting to walk off the field with a victory at their last home game at Spartan Stadium. Unfortunately for them this year’s M.S.U. team continued to be consistent at one thing; losing close games. Saturday’s 23-20 defeat to the Northwestern Wildcats (N.W.) makes 11 the grand total point difference in M.S.U.’s four conference home loses this year; 1pt. for O.S.U., 3 vs. Iowa (in O.T. no less), 4 vs. Nebraska, and 3 against N.W. Four games, each one lost for different deficiencies, each one with opportunities to win, each one the result the same.
In the last 30 seasons at Spartan Stadium, only John L. Smith’s 2006 didn’t win at least one conference home game, until yesterday. As M.S.U. fans remember, Smith’s teams were known for explosive offenses but defenses that couldn’t stop a team of retired Vatican nuns. This team is the exact opposite, a team with the 7th ranked defense in the entire country paired with an offense that wishes it could score as easily as a team of retired Vatican nuns, and that’s no insult to the nuns. Like my other loveable losers, the Detroit Lions, this team invents ways to lose and yesterday was no exception.
The defense did its job again, giving up only 16 points to a team that averages 30. The defense even scored the first two points of the game for M.S.U. with a safety. (N.W. total of 23 came from a 43 INT return off an Andrew Maxwell errant throw in the second quarter). The offense finally started to move the ball with regularity but then proceeded to turn the ball over four times and literally gave points away while in the crucial red zone. Twice in the first half with the ball at the N.W. two yard line the offense came up with zero points. The first time, Maxwell fumbled the ball on the one yard line. The second time Le’Veon Bell was stopped on both 3rd and 4th down from the one yard line. Those squandered chances combined with a missed 37 yard field goal by Sr. Dan Conroy left M.S.U. down 6-5 rather than leading 20-6 at halftime.
In the second half the team’s played even, with each team scoring two touchdowns. In the end the Wildcats scored a field goal with seven minutes left. The Spartans offense had two opportunities to answer back but fell short again; thus leaving the home crowd with an all too familiar scenario, a close game that resulted in a Green and White lose.
Since the start of Mark Dantonio’s tenure in 2007, M.S.U. has always qualified to play in a bowl game. Let’s hope next Saturday the Spartans can continue that streak with a win over the last place Minnesota Gophers. If not, a season full of inconsistencies will bring down the one constant Dantonio and his staff has built into this program.
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.