MSU Offense Hopes to Silence Critics in Madison
Image by Photo Courtesy: Michigan State Spartans
There is no question that Coach Mark Dantonio has laid the foundation for a successful football program. Hard-work, determination, and attention for detail have been extremely evident in his sixth year in East Lansing. His teams have never been ridden with four and five-star recruits, but they were never afraid to hit you in the mouth, and then do it again, and again. That led to instant success and improvement each year. Something has been missing this season though, and it's been quite simple.
Watching the Michigan State offense has been equivalent to taking a trip to the dentist for an annual cleaning. Uncomfortable, boring, and predictable. The Spartans rank 109 out of 124 teams in points-per-game, and if you take away the offensive explosions versus Indiana and Eastern Michigan, that ranking would be lower. I'd say I'm using the term "explosion" very loosely.
The blame on the offensive struggles have been relayed to Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar, whose play-calling has been bland and unimaginative eight games into the season. He shouldn't receive all the blame, as the offensive line has been struggling to open holes for the running game, as well as allowing Maxwell time to get off crisp passes.
The unit will now be taking its talents to one of the most hostile environments in the country, Camp Randall Stadium, versus the 6-2 Wisconsin Badgers. Led by All-American Montee Ball, the Badgers sport an elite rushing attack, with behemoths on the offensive line, with an average weight of 320 pounds. Their quarterback play has been equally suspect to MSU's, with opening-day starter Danny O'Brien being benched in favor of Joel Stave. Stave, a red-shirt Freshman, has only suffered one loss since taking over in Week 3, but has been criticized for poor results on key situations, especially third-down conversions.
If the offense fails to show consistency yet again, can the defense make enough plays to warrant a victory? The first eight weeks of the year say otherwise, but as Coach Mark Dantonio says, it's a game of inches, and one big play could be the difference.
Michigan State: 17 Wisconsin : 23