Michigan State Performance Evaluations

OSU FootballI’m still surprised how the Ohio State/Michigan State result has been perceived. Not just nationally, either. The headline on the sports page of the Columbus Dispatch was “Quite a fright.” Are you kidding me? I know the writers don’t pick their headlines, but that is ridiculous. A fright? Seriously? Hardly. Michigan State came into Columbus with a vaunted rush game and something to prove. Ohio State’s defense put them in their place. Let’s start there:


The Defense: 4.5 Sweatervests

Michigan State and its one-two punch of Ringer and Caulcrick came into this game running other defenses over. They were averaging over 450 yards of offense a game. These are not insignificant numbers. Michigan State may not be a great team, but they are good. You don’t rack up that kind of yardage without some talented players.

That being said, Ohio State’s defense absolutely dominated the Spartans. Gholston & Company held the double-J’s to 59 yards on the ground, 2.1 yards per carry. That’s stout. Nine first downs, total. Solid tackling, good adjustments, everything. Laurinaitis continues to be a leader by example, racking up 12 tackles and really seems to be everywhere on the field. Everyone is flying to the ball. This is a fun defense to watch.


The Opponent: 3.5 Sweatervests

As I mentioned above, Michigan State is not a bad team. They laid the wood to a good Indiana team (the same team that played Penn State tough last Saturday) and matched Wisconsin stride for stride for 3+ quarters. They also beat Pitt (even though it wasn’t pretty) who just beat a good Cincinnati team. They were averaging almost 37 points a game and gobs of yards coming into the Horseshoe.

They’re also a well coached team. Give Dantonio a couple years and he’ll have Michigan State in the thick of the Big Ten again. Don’t be fooled. Ohio State beat a pretty good Michigan State team.


Beanie’s Stiff Arm: 4 Sweatervests

It’s unfair, actually, how easily Beanie pushes around defenders. You know as soon as you see him switch the ball to his other hand that the Stiff Arm of Justice™ is coming, halting all in its path.

My only concern is that he relies on it just a little too much. It also leaves him vulnerable for arm/shoulder injuries. But for now, he seems to be doing just fine. Stiffing people is Beanie’s business, and business is good.


Vernon Gholston: 5 Sweatervests

Gholston decided to descend from his throne atop Mount Olympus to play as a mere mortal this week. Can’t let anyone get too suspicious. We’ll give him the decidedly mortal five Sweatervests.


Overall Performance: 4 Sweatervests

Baseline: 3 Sweatervests. +1 for Ballard’s catch. Thing of beauty. +1 BIG D. That’s a D with 72 point font. +1 for Beanie’s 221 yards. More of that, please. -1 for Boeckman’s INT, -0.5 for his lost fumble (not entirely his fault) and -0.5 for Beanie’s almost lost fumble. Less of that, please!

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