EAST LANSING, Mich. —- The word of the day inside the historic Spartan Stadium and the home of the Michigan State University historic football program was simply – wait.
The start of the game delayed by lighting and thunderstorms lasted for 67 minutes but for the 70,401 football that waited around saw a pretty good football game, especially if you were cheering for the Spartans.
Under a stormy and overcast sky, Michigan State University defeated the University of South Florida 21-6, and the Bulls posted their second lost of the season but wait it is not all bad news for the University of South Florida.
The Bulls’ defense played with better effort and really the score of the game does not reflect how close the game really was played by both teams. The effort by the offense struggled but seem to be trying on the field but the offensive line could not keep the avalanche of green shirts off of Bulls’ quarterback Bobby Eveld.
A problem for the Bulls, the Spartan’s defense played a little better and scored 14 points to help the Spartans floundering offense.
Spartans’ defensive end Shilique Calhoun scored two touchdowns for Michigan State University. His first score came when Calhoun scooped up and ran back Eveld fumble four yards the score.
Calhoun’s second touchdown of the day came in the third quarter. He ran back an intercepted a pass thrown by Eveld 56 yards.
“It was a delicate play called. I went to go an execute, as I went to go execute the play I realized that the ball was in the air and the first thing I thought was if I catch this man you are good!” Calhoun said about making the interception. “As the coach tells the receivers first thing is to catch the ball. I caught it, I looked around and I was like ‘I can make it to the end zone!’”
The Bulls offense could only produce 155 yards of total offense against the Spartans’ defense including Eveld finishing the game 6-of-25 for 66 yards, one interceptions, one fumble and he was sacked three times.
“That 6-for-25 wasn’t just Bobby, the pressure on the quarterback had a lot to do with it, Bobby can’t throw the ball when he is on his back,” University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart said. “You can’t complete a pass when we drop the ball.”
Tailback Marcus Shaw did not run for a touchdown the first time he ran the ball against the Spartans but he did run the ball 23 times for 94 yards.
“I feel like I did a pretty good job but it would have felt better if we would have won,” Shaw said about his performance against the Spartans. “I like winning!”
“We just did not get it done offensively,” Taggart said.
The Michigan State University offense struggled against the Bulls and the defense did do a better job only giving up 265 yards of total offense causing Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio to admit that he is concern about the Spartan offense.
“Of course I am concern! How much? On a scale of one to 10, I would day it’s about an eight,” Dantonio said. “We need explosive plays in our offense. We got a chance to go down field. We got the ball too many times in possessions that I would consider a sudden change and we’re not generating points.”
Leading the Bulls defense linebackers DeDe Lattimore, Reshard Cliett, and defensive lineman Tevin Mims. Lattimore finish the game with 15 tackles including 10 solo tackles both Mims and Cliett made seven tackles.
“It was a large step up from last week; definitely a confidence builder,” Bulls senior defensive end Julius Forte said about the play of the defense against the Spartans. “Like I said, there was a of work that we need to improve on.”
The Bulls special team play especially the punt return game did not play well against the Spartans too many bad decisions put the Bulls offense in poor field position.
Michigan State University punter Mike Sadler punted the ball seven times for the Spartans and four of the punts landed inside the 20 yard line.
Bulls’ punt return specialist Kenneth Durden had a chance to return three punts, he gained 20 yards his longest return of the day was 19 yards and he made three bad decisions to return the ball inside the 10 yard line putting the Bulls offense in poor field position.
The Bulls return home to Raymond James Stadium, Saturday night, September 14, 2013 for a night game against Florida Atlantic University, the kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m.
For Taggart and for the fans of the University of South Florida the wait continues for the first victory of the season.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.