This week THE Buckeyes will take on the other team from up North. For this week’s Across the Web we look to our friends at www.enlightenedspartan.com, who also joined us for last year’s chat. ES took some time from his busy schedule to answer our questions on Sparty.
1. Are MSU Fans excited about William Gholston’s play, or is it more of a “man, I hope he doesn’t kill us with a stupid penalty”?
ES: Gholston is the Spartans’ version of Dirty Harry… he is mean, and with a penchant for taking no prisoners ‘cause he’s THE MAN – but while kicking butt, he’s not thinking about the impact of his actions outside of his own skin. So, we’ll take his two steps forward, knowing we’ll take one step back.
2. What are the odds that MSU drops Notre Dame, following their move to the ACC? Bigger rival- the Irish or the Wolverines?
ES: Part 1, ND: Nil. As expected, the Catholics dropped the Wolvies, because scUM is a far more disinteresting matchup. The Spartans have a much longer history, and more wins in the series, and we’re on the docket for… forever.
Part 2, Rival: Our bigger rival is the Rodents, and that’s tied into our relationship in the Big Ten… speaking of which, the Roadkill was the only Big Ten school to vote against Michigan State joining the conference back in 1949, and we’ve hated that scUM ever since. The ES is permanently irked at having to watch both scUM and the Goddam Catholics get support annually from millions of Trailer Trash who love them yet never even attended college.
3. MSU has a number of Ohio State ties on their coaching staff. Have you heard any funny stories about GA Rob Harley as of yet?
ES: Never even heard of Harley, other than it’s been a dream to drive one across the Upper Peninsula. And, you know the stories about OSU assistant Rick Court? If so, please share…
4. How has Andrew Maxwell performed this year replacing departed 3-year starter Kirk Cousins?
ES: Seeing how Cousins is the best quarterback in Spartan history (the ES is serious), them are tough shoes to fill. Maxwell IS improving, but slowly. He aired the ball high and wide several times against EMU – but his misses were out of harms way.
The problem is the Spartan receivers, not Maxwell, which leads to the answer to the next question below…
5. MSU had difficulties with EMU last weekend for the first 3 quarters and change. What did EMU do that allowed them to be so successful?
ES: EMU didn’t do anything. Rather, the main issue with Michigan State is its receiving corps. In the past two games – Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan – there have been a DOZEN dropped passes… in each game. I mean, right in the receiver’s hands. My dead grandma could catch those passes. Former Spartan receiver Charles Rogers could still catch those passes, even if he was on crack and dragging his seven illegitimate kids behind him. For the most part, Maxwell HAS hit these guys in stride, beautiful passes (his best game so far was against Notre Dame), only for these lanky wideouts to drop them, doing Maxwell no favors. These drops have killed drives, not allowed Bell to break out, and asked the defense to step up after giving up poor field position.
The reason why Notre Dame had as many yards as they did (mind you, after all my rants, just 300 total yards for the Irish – that is how good the Spartan defense is) was because the Michigan State receivers dropped so many passes on third down (including wide open passes in the end zone) that it shortened the Spartans’ field and also gave the Irish more time. If MSU receivers can catch, GAME OVER. It is the only weakness on Michigan State – but it is a HUGE weakness.
Michigan State really has only one decent receiver, TE Dion Sims, who is a mammoth of an individual at 6-8, 280-lbs. He has great hands. All the other receivers, individually and combined, have hands of slippery, buttery iron. May as well throw the ball at a brick wall: it’s a waste of time, but at least you know the result…
6. How long do you think it will be before Dantonio’s scowl actually slays a reporter?
ES: If we drop a half dozen passes against Ohio State, you’ll see it Saturday night.
7. How important is Bell running to the team? Do you think he has to be above 100 yards in order to win this game?
ES: Bell is critical; yes, he needs 100+ yards for victory. He is the best Spartan running back since Lorenzo White (who last took Michigan State to the Rose Bowl when the ES was a sophomore at MSU in 1987). The only reason why Bell had less than 100 yards against Notre Dame was because of the poor receiving that killed drives. He averages 6+ yards a carry; the dude is 6-4 and weighs almost 250-lbs. He may look slow but is elegant, deceptively strong, and has quick feet. He isn’t a break-away speedster like Javon Ringer or Edwin Baker. Rather, he is Mr. Durability, like… Lorenzo White.
Seeing as Spartan receivers catch like my dead grandma, if they limit their drops and catch the ball to convert even a measly 35% of third downs, that would move the chains enough, and it gives Bell more carries… which helps to get him over 100 yards. It also changes the position of the field to give the Spartan defense a chance to keep the Buckeyes scoreless.
If Bell has over 100 yards, it means receivers are catching the ball, which means a nice mix on offense, which gives a blow on defense, better field position, and thus a likely Spartan win. If not, Ohio State wins… again. How boring THAT would be.
Maybe next time other than Gholston I can gloat about the Spartan Defense. Thanks again! GO GREEN.