It took three weeks into the season to see any signs of life, but the Michigan State Spartans finally got something going on the offensive side of the ball in their 55-17 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday.
While it might not be much, any signs of improvement are refreshing for the Spartan coaching staff and the Spartan faithful. The team was scoring touchdowns on offense, moving the ball, completing third downs and looked like an FBS football team for the first time.
What’s even more refreshing to see is that players are starting to step up and establish themselves as go to players on the offense, which the team desperately needed heading into Big 10 football play.
After Saturday, there is no doubt that Connor Cook will be the quarterback for the Spartans moving forward in the season after much controversy at the position. Cook was given the start and the chance to win the job, and played sound football all day long, completing 15 of 22 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns.
It is extremely important that State was able to finalize the quarterback position, as this will allow the team to develop continuity as a unit and the play calling can progress more now that Cook has the keys to the offense. In addition to Cook stepping up, other players have joined him in taking control of the offense.
Sophomore receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. is emerging as the go to receiver for the Spartans this year, a position they desperately need a playmaker. Kings had four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown Saturday, and is currently the Spartans leading receiver on the year. While he might not be the biggest, Kings shows great quickness and burst in his routes and can line up virtually anywhere.
The running game for the Spartans was also much improved Saturday, as the team ran for a combined 277 yards led by Nick Hill’s nine carries for 83 yards and a touchdown. Jeremy Langford also had a good day, with 15 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns. If the Spartans can keep consistency in the running game, the entire offense will open up and allow for many scoring opportunities.
The Spartans still have much work to do, and these stats were against an FCS opponent. Still, it’s improvement and that’s all you can ask for from week to week. The Spartans will take their young offense down to South Bend to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and we’ll found out how good this team is all around.