Post game observations? What can I say? With a 44-0 win, I guess in one word to sum it up, domination.
First, I’d like to thank Superboy95 for pointing out that Michigan State did indeed have a shut out win a few years ago. The funny thing is, it was against FAU in 2008. To post another shutout against Schnellenberger’s FAU Owls again is kind of ironic.
It was a dominating performance led by Jerel Worthy and the men in green and white on the defensive side. The defensive unit was able to limit the FAU offense to just 1 first down in the entire game, allowing a total of 48 yards, recorded a fumble recover for a TD, and recorded 3 sacks (Yay! Finally!). Another eye popping statistic was the time of possession thanks to the defense. Michigan State accounted nearly 3/4 of the game time.
Time of possession in Michigan State’s: 42 minutes, 34 seconds.
Time of possession in Florida Atlantic’s: 17 minutes, 26 seconds.
We’ll start off with the offense. The offensive line change that occurred over the past week seemed to be a smart move and worked in Michigan State’s favor. I saw fewer false start penalties along with a well protected Kirk Cousin. BJ Cunningham was able to silently rack up yards and catches to surpass Matt Trannon and become Michigan State’s all time leading receiver in most catches. The running backs had an effective work day thanks to the offensive line being able to open up lanes. The four running backs were able to rack up 202 in rushing yards split amongst them. If the coaches decide to stick with this lineup, I’m hoping the offensive line chemistry will rapidly ascend to a stout offensive line. A strong offensive line is the backbone of Big Ten football.
Under a vanilla defensive play calling, the defensive line did a tremendous job. The front four were tackling at the line of scrimmage instead of allowing the opponent to gain 5+ yards after the line of scrimmage. Aggressive play calling wise, I think I saw only perhaps 1 or 2 blitzes in the entire game. There really isn’t anything else to say besides how domineering it was. It was especially great to see that we didn’t have to open up our defensive playbook, unlike Michigan Waah-verines, to create pressure against the opposing offense. As the season progresses, hopefully our defense will continue to improve and become a defense to be feared in the Big Ten.
Special units… what can I say? I’m not too worried about our field goal kickers. But with Conroy/Muma no longer having former Michigan State punter Aaron Bates to hold the ball, it does raises some eyebrows as to what we need to do to get the kicking consistency we had from last year.
The punt return and kick return units did a much better job this week. No muffed punts as far as I can recall. Although I was expecting for at least one punt/kick return for a touchdown.
Overall, not to take anything away from Howard Schnellenberger’s (whom I did not realize what a rich football history he has) FAU team, however they were just over matched and overwhelmed by our athletic bunch. As long as steady improvements continue on both side of the ball, we win the games we are suppose to win, pull some upsets, we should contend for another Big Ten title. Hopefully we will win the Big Ten outright this time!