Michigan State Makes Statement: They're Best Team In Big 10 Legends Division

By Derek Helling
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State has grown over this season from a team that couldn’t score or be scored on, to a balanced and complete football team. Considering the competition they have in the Big Ten Legends division, the Spartans are firmly in the driver’s seat to grab one of the two spots in the Big Ten Championship game.

Michigan State, now 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference, showcased a vastly-improved offense that led the Spartans to a 42-28 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers today. Michigan State topped 400 yards of offense, a nearly even split between rushing and passing yards in a game in which the Spartans defense was sorely tested. The 28 points the Hoosiers scored today are nearly twice as many as the Spartans had given up in any of the five previous games.

The efficient running game of Michigan State was the Spartans’ best defense today. Amassing 238 yards on 47 carries, Michigan State was able to keep the Indiana offense on the field with a 15-minute time of possession advantage. Michigan State’s offensive efficiency was further emphasized by the fact that the Spartans converted 10 of their 14 third-down attempts.

Connor Cook further cemented his hold on the quarterback job, one that was up in the air earlier in the season, with his second-consecutive solid performance. Cook went 22-for-31 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Cook completed passes to 11 different receivers and again was masterful in making his reads and taking what the defense gave him. Most importantly for Michigan State, they may have found a front-runner to carry the load in the backfield.

Jeremy Langford rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries and also had an 11-yard touchdown reception. He was complemented by Delton Williams, whose 101 total yards on 13 touches made him a more-than-adequate fill-in for when Langford needed a breather. Going forward, Williams will continue to get his touches, but expect Langford to get them first and foremost.

While this was a bad game defensively compared to the standard Michigan State had set for itself, this was encouraging because it proved that the Spartans’ defense can have an off-day and Michigan State can still win. If the Spartans can continue to perform like this on offense and get back to the suffocating defense, they will not only win the Big Ten Legends division, but give whoever wins the Leaders division all they want and more in the championship game.

Derek Helling is a writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook and add him on Google+.

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