Michigan State: 5 Reasons Why Spartans lost to the Hawkeyes
Michigan State: 5 Reasons Why Spartans Lost to Iowa
The Michigan State Spartans are one of those teams this year that you don't know how to think of them. Are they really this bad? Is their offense ever going to wake up? Are they just in a slump? Will they come out of it before it's too late?
All of these questions remain unanswered until the season plays out through week 13. What we do know is that right now this team has underachieved and is certainly in need of a leader.
Last year, the Spartans looked towards Kirk Cousins to give them that spark and leadership to motivate them. The result of his leadership-- two straight 11 win seasons including a bowl win last year over a strong SEC foe, Georgia.
This year, Michigan State thought they had their guy-- Andrew Maxwell. So far the junior has shown no sense of urgency and has yet to show any vocal leadership like that of Kirk Cousins.
Sometimes people can be unfairly harsh on the quarterback of the team in times of adversity. However, the quarterback is the leader of the offense and the most important position on the entire team, making him the object of most blame and most praise.
In the case of Maxwell, he has to be that leader and when he steps up into that role, the blame will start turning to praise and the losses to wins.
Besides the ongoing problem of a lack of leadership for this team, here are the five reasons why Michigan State lost at home to the Iowa Hawkeyes on a rainy Saturday in East Lansing.
Poor Play by Andrew Maxwell
Andrew Maxwell had one of his worst games as a Spartan against the Hawkeyes. He looked plain old awful throughout the game. He was just 12 of 31 for 179 pass yards and no scores. The most glaring issue with Maxwell: no sense of urgency. He needs to show more leadership in close, late game situations and not leave up to his defense to try and win games. He needs to put the game in his hands and carry the team with him. He looked out of sorts against the Hawkeyes and I'm sure he hopes it doesn't happen again.
Mark Weisman was keyed up by the Spartans all game long and to a certain point, they did a great job in slowing him down. At one point, the converted fullback had 10 carries for 22 yards. This is when the Spartans thought they had him figured out, then the second half started. Weisman finished the game with 26 carries for 116 yards and the game-tying touchdown with under a minute to play in the fourth quarter. He was the difference in this game.
The coaching has been an issue all season long when it comes to play-calling. Mark Dantonio is not so much the issue but he does have a lot of say as to what goes on with this team. Although the play-calling is not part of his duties, he still has the say as to what play to call in certain situations. Dan Roushar is the offensive coordinator and has done a mediocre job this season with the calling of plays. The biggest problem with them is the predictability of the plays being called such as three straight runs with Le'Veon Bell up the middle, gaining two or three yards at a time or getting stuffed at the line. This was a huge problem Saturday-- not enough shots taken down the field.
Lack of Redzone Success
The lack of redzone success has been an issue all season for this team and was a prominent issue in Saturday's home loss. The Spartans encountered the 20-yard line and beyond four times in the game and came away with just one touchdown. This has been an issue for the offense all season and one touchdown and three field goals are an issue when you enter the redzone. Good teams come away with touchdowns and the Spartans have yet to be successful.
Lack of Pressure on the QB
Yet another game where the Spartans come away with a mediocre number of sacks. They have had less than 10 sacks all season long and that was something they excelled in last season. Getting pressure on the quarterback continued to be an issue and they came away with just one sack and William Gholston continues to underachieve as he is supposed to be the leader of this defense, yet isn't producing. The defense will need to get more pressure on the quarterbacks in the coming weeks when they play teams with more agile quarterbacks that can hurt them with their arm and legs.