Michigan State Football Ratings for MSU Performance in Ohio State
Lansing State Journal columnist Graham Couch rates the Spartans on a scale of 1 to 10.
Even though Michigan State’s defense had been up to the challenge at Ohio State, MSU’s offense fell far short of any kind of pace. Ten of the Spartans’ twelve possessions failed a second first try. Their only substantial training – until the end of the game, when Ohio State was playing saves – died after 13 plays and with a 46-yard missed field goal. There have been a few promising third-down conversions that have avoided three-and-outs. But that’s about all. It was a miserable day – for Kenneth Walker, who only wore six times and was hampered, for Payton Thorne, who only made 14 of 36 passes and was under duress, and for Jayden Reed, who has finished the match with his foot in a boot on the sidelines.
MSU allowed seven straight touchdowns to start the game and the Buckeyes 500 yards in the first half to lead 49-0. It couldn’t be worse. The Spartans were completely outclassed. They put almost no pressure on Buckeyes QB CJ Stroud, who made 32 of 35 throws and six touchdown passes, and was nowhere near adequately covering the exceptional group of receivers at Ohio State. MSU’s pass defense, a problem for several games now, has been gutted by the Buckeyes.
SPECIAL TEAMS: 5
When your punter is your star, it’s rarely a good day. Bryce Baringer averaged 49.7 yards on nine punts, including one for 74 yards and a few early booms that put Ohio State in a tough starting position. It didn’t matter. Kicker Matt Coghlin missed his only field goal, far to the right at 46 yards. MSU did nothing of note in the second leg.
I don’t understand why the cornerbacks still play 10 yards from the receivers when MSU is down 42 points. I mean, try something else. Pass defense is a problem. How much of a schematic I don’t know. I think a lot of it is talent. We’ll find out from the decisions Mel Tucker makes during the offseason with his staff and in the transfer portal. MSU didn’t have what it took to compete with Ohio State and I’m not sure if any coach could have changed that. But MSU’s coaches certainly didn’t seem to have answers. The only bright spot, I thought, was Tucker’s tone in the post-game and the message he gave to his team – one of tough love, unity and soul-searching. He did not reprimand them.
MSU could be in trouble next week against Penn State, given how insane the Spartans have gone. But there’s still a lot at stake. I think if MSU beats Penn State, he’ll still have a pretty good chance of finishing in the top 12 of the college football playoff standings, which would come with a six-bowl offer from New York. An, maybe the Peach Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl. Being in this position at the end of the season is testament to the good work that has been done by this team.
Contact Graham Couch at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Graham_Couch.