Can we keep it real for a second Spartans? Did we really think that this team was going to go undefeated? Were we expecting this season to be a cakewalk without any flaws whatsoever? Whatever you thoughts might have been, the answer to these questions, and more, were answered this past weekend as the MSU football team was handed a 31-13 loss at the hands of Notre Dame for their first loss of the season.
Piecing this loss together, there were various components contributing to this lopsided defeat for MSU. First, let’s examine the run game. The tandem of running backs LeVeon Bell and Edwin Baker were completely shut down by the Notre Dame defense. If you recall last years MSU victory over Notre Dame in the infamous “Little Giants” game, Bell and Baker combined for a total of over 200 yards. On Saturday both men combined for a dismal 53-yard game.
Next, let’s take a look at the passing attack. Although MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 329 yards, this does not tell the entire story. The offensive line for the Spartans performed more like the first level of a video game; a breeze to get through. Every snap Cousins took seemed to be met with a barrage of gold helmets charging toward the senior quarterback. The 12 penalties committed by the Spartans had much to do with confusion on trying to slow down Notre Dame’s defensive line.
Lastly, let’s observe the word “complacent.” It’s a word that the MSU football team seemed to embody throughout Saturday’s loss, not looking like the Big Ten Champions we are accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis. The Spartans were coming off two easy wins against mediocre teams, Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic, forgetting about legit contenders like the fighting Irish, who were desperate for a win Saturday after starting off the season 0-2.
The Spartans were careless (two turnovers), unfocused (12 penalties for 86-yards), and…what’s that word again? O yea, C-O-M-P-L-A-C-E-N-T; the Spartans got too comfortable with their 2-0 record, lowering their guard down just enough for the fighting Irish to deliver big uppercut of awakening.
Next on the schedule for MSU is Central Michigan University. The Chips are coming off a 44-14 loss to Western Michigan and itching to rebound.
Legendary basketball coach Pat Riley once said, “When a great team loses through complacency, it will constantly search for new and more intricate explanations to explain away defeat.” Need I elaborate more? Be easy people…
By Allen Martin