Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nebraska 24, Michigan State 3: Postgame thoughts

The only part of today's score I got right was Nebraska's point total: 24.  Thank you Bo Pelini for going into victory formation and not running up the score in the last five minutes of the game.

Not to make excuses, but it appeared that the Spartans were tired.  They had played Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin in succession--all three emotional wins.  Probably none more so than the Wisconsin game.  State just looked flat for most of the game, but credit must also go to Nebraska, who played some intense smothering defense.  They contained the running game, covered the receivers like a blanket, and basically made it a long day for MSU's offense

Nebraska knew how important this game was for their chances at a Big Ten title, and playing it surrounded by a sea of red certainly didn't hurt.  I'd like MSU's chances a lot more at home, but that's the way it goes.

The last hurdle MSU's football program must cross is playing well on the road in hostile environments.  They are getting closer in this regard, as this game wasn't nearly as bad as last year's Iowa game.

In any case, getting through this four game stretch (OSU, Mich, Wisc, Neb) at 3-1 is pretty darned good.  The schedule gets easier from here on out, with home games against Minnesota and Indiana, and road games against Iowa and Northwestern.  Of course, those games against Iowa and Northwestern could get tricky, particularly Iowa--where MSU has had lots of trouble in the past.  Still, not quite as daunting as the first half of the Big Ten season.

Now, it's time for the Spartans to regroup and get ready for a very winnable game next Saturday against Minnesota.

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