Saturday, September 20, 2008

Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 7: post-game thoughts

As I write this post, I am relishing my "victory beer," a very smooth Indian Pale Ale from the Michigan Brewing Company. It's tasting pretty darned good right now.

Nice, solid win for the Spartans today. I knew that Dantonio would have the boys ready today, and MSU as a team was about as good as I have seen them in quite some time. I felt that for any Heisman talk regarding Javon Ringer to be truly justified, he'd have to bring it against big-name competition. Yes, I know Notre Dame is not a great team, but they have improved from last year and they are still NOTRE DAME. That name is nationally recognized and if you can light them up, you can guarantee that the national pundits will take a shine to you.

Having said that, the long Big Ten season is still in front of us, and the test for the Spartans will be if they can stay healthy enough to finish with a winning record. I am still maintaining relatively low expectations until proven otherwise.

I know that many of the MSU sports chat rooms and blogs will rip Brian Hoyer from here to Grand Rapids for this performance today, but he really was not that bad. Sure, he wasn't great, but he didn't make any mistakes that hurt the team. In fairness to Hoyer, there were some dropped passes that should have been caught. I was happy that when he didn't have an open receiver, he threw the ball away. Jimmy Clausen, who has a great arm and will be a solid quarterback for the Irish, made some mistakes that really hurt his team (particularly the throw into double coverage that Otis Wiley picked off in the end zone). The bottom line with Hoyer is that he's what you'd call a solid "program player," a little like former Spartan quarterbacks Bill Burke and Dan Enos. Some people expect him to be Tim Tebow, and that's just not going to happen. I still believe that Hoyer can have a solid year (have I used the word "solid" too much?). Let's not forget that, although he did have a bad game against Boston College in last year's Champs Sports Bowl, he did play a brilliant second half in last year's comeback win against Penn State.

After giving love to Hoyer, I have to admit that if anything bad happens to Ringer, MSU's football season is in serious jeopardy.

During the game, I was thinking that this may have been the best performance by an MSU defense since the Nick Saban era. Otis Wiley is a stud (and if he continues to play as well as he has--will be a high NFL draft pick) , Adam Decker is one tough hombre at linebacker (although does seem to be a bit of a hothead--he needs to temper some of that aggression), and Greg Jones will be playing on Sundays. Fortener had one of the game's most important plays breaking up a sure touchdown pass late in the game.

Overall, a good, tough, hard-hitting game (as would be expected in this rivalry) and a great win for the Spartans. I continue to be impressed with the way Dantonio consistently has this team ready to play, ever since his first game on the job. Bring on Indiana!

No comments:

Post a Comment