Not so fast, my friend. The 42 points were scored on an Illinois defense that currently ranks 104th in total defense. What makes journalists more apprehensive to endorse the Spartans as a team ready to compete against the best the Pac-12 has to offer is the offense’s inconsistency.
Just a week ago, Michigan State had a home game against a Purdue defense currently ranked 67th in FBS in total defense. The Spartans managed all of six points and 294 yards on offense, both less than half of what the Boilermakers are averaging. The sharp Connor Cook took the field for the Spartans, completing all but one of his pass attempts and matching the production of the run game yard for yard. Last week, however, he was missing receivers and making poor reads.
Michigan State rushed for three touchdowns today. Last week against Purdue, the running game got stifled each time the Spartans got into the red zone by penalties and poor blocking.
In the games in which they have struggled offensively, it has looked like the Spartans’ biggest issue is getting out of their own way. Against Purdue, the Spartans allowed five sacks and went just 5-of=13 on third-down conversions. More than an effort by the opposing defense, it’s been poor execution that has limited Michigan State’s offense.
Michigan State has shown it has the potential to rack up yards and points when it executes. The Spartans have just shown offensive ineptitude as many times. Until consistency is developed, that side of the ball has to be listed as a liability.
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