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NCAA Football Big 10 FootballMichigan State Spartans

Connor Cook Exactly What Michigan State Needs to Win Big Ten Title

Connor Cook

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

It was just three short weeks ago that the Michigan State Spartans were searching for a starting quarterback. Senior quarterback Andrew Maxwell was struggling through the first couple of weeks and his starting spot that he had held for over a year was in question. It was the first time in over a season that Maxwell’s job was in question. Enter, Connor Cook.

The sophomore quarterback has come in and played phenomenal as the team’s starting quarterback for the past four games. In his first start, Cook took down Youngstown State with the best quarterback performance of the young season with 202 yards and four touchdowns. He showed flashes of brilliance, but took a step back in week four against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, passing for just 135 yards and a touchdown while completing only 50 percent of his passes.

However, he knew he needed to step his game up as he was taken out in week four against the Fighting Irish in the final drive out the game because of his struggles. Cook did just that against the Iowa Hawkeyes, proving that he can be the quarterback of the future that Mark Dantonio and the Spartans were desperately searching for. He passed for a career-high 277 yards and two touchdowns in a huge road win that led to the Spartans’ fourth win of the year.

The next game? Well, how about following up a career-game with yet another solid performance. Cook completed 71 percent of his passes against the Indiana Hoosiers for 235 yards and two more scores.

On the season, Cook has passed for 923 yards and nine touchdowns with just two interceptions for a team that otherwise looked dead in the water after a Notre Dame loss and no offense to begin the season.

It’s not just Cook’s passing that has sparked this offense, it’s his leadership. He has taken control of this team and the other players seem to be feeding off his confidence. The receivers are starting to catch passes, running backs are running the ball better and younger guys are stepping up to contribute to the Spartans’ success at 5-1.

Cook will face his biggest test of the season in three weeks when the Michigan Wolverines come to town. Michigan State will look to be 7-1 by that time and with an eighth win, the Spartans could be heavy favorites to win the Big Ten Legends Division title. The following weeks, the Spartans will be traveling to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Northwestern Wildcats in back-to-back games, but finishing the season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers should be nice.

This team could finish the regular season with 10 wins and they can thank the solid play of Connor Cook for that.

Related: Can Michigan State Spartans Contend for a Big Ten Title?

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

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at muldown5@gmail.com.