Monday, August 28, 2006

Season Preview: Michigan State

Last Season: What team other then Michigan State could start the year out 4-0 with a win over Jesus Weis at South Bend, lose to Michigan, completely self-implode in the second half against Ohio State after leading, and tank the rest of the year? It was another manic depressive year for MSU despite the firepower to hang with any of the elite teams. The low point of the year had to be the 41-18 shellacking at Minnesota the second to last game of the year.

Outlook: Another year and no one is giving Sparty a chance, except yours truly. MSU returns 5 starters from a really good offensive unit including potential All-American Drew Stanton. Yes I said it; name me a QB that was better in the first 4 games last season (13 TD’s). MSU was 5th in total yards and 18th in scoring last year and there shouldn’t be any let down this year. The defense should also be better this year with 6 returning starters. They get Notre Dame at home after blowing away 3 patsies in Idaho, Eastern Michigan, and Pitt (sorry Pitt fans, it’s the truth). They then get back to back games against Michigan and Ohio State which could be tough, but at least the OSU game is at home. If they beat ND, and split the other two they could be hosting Minnesota and facing Penn State with a share of the Big Ten title on the line. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Returning starters: 5
Key Losses:
C Chris Morris

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Quarterback Drew Stanton

Key Returnees:
QB Drew Stanton(3,077 yards, 22 TD, 338 rushing yards, 4 rushing TD)
WR Matt Trannon (573 yards, 4 TD)
WR Jerramy Scott (722 yards, 4 TD)
TE Kellen Davis (122 yards, 2 TD)
LT Mike Gyetvai
LG Kyle Cook

Returning starters: 6
Key Losses:
DB Eric Smith (101 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 2 INT)
DT Domata Peko (53 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)

Key Returnees:
DT Clifton Ryan (34 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks)
LB David Herron (65 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks)
LB Kaleb Thornhill (63 tackles, 4 TFL 1 sack)
LB SirDarean Adams (60 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 INT)
CB Demond Williams (29 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT)
CB Greg Cooper (48 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)

Game Outlook: Last year Penn State went into East Lansing with a Big Ten title on their minds and came away with a win. To their credit, Michigan State didn’t give up and fought tooth and nail till the end. Predicting this game at the beginning of the year is an act in utter futility, so much could happen between now and then. If either team suffers an injury at QB, there could be trouble. MSU matches up well with Penn State using their strengths (wide receivers) versus PSU’s defensive weakness (secondary). Last season wide receivers Jerramy Scott and Matt Trannon both had one of their best games against the Nits. MSU’s weakness on defense last season was its line, and while they won’t be as bad, Penn State will probably try to exploit it again like last year when Penn State had 188 yards of rushing to go with only 105 yards of passing.

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