I've meant to get back to this blog sooner than this, but I blame my absence to the start of the school year and a few other "real life gets in the way" situations that have kept me away from the computer.
When we left off, the Spartans were about to take on Jacksonville State in the 2014 season opener. I truly believed that JSU would put up a better fight than they did, and I was pleasantly surprised by the way MSU completely dominated the first half of the game. The Spartans had their way with the Gamecocks, taking a commanding 38-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The game really couldn't have gone better for MSU. The Spartans were able to sit Connor Cook and the other starters in the second half. Tyler O'Connor, Damion Terry, and a host of other backups gained valuable playing time in the second half. Consequently, the second half was a snooze. The teams traded touchdowns and MSU came away with a 45-7 win.
The Spartans take on Oregon in two days, and I honestly have no idea what to expect. Autzen Stadium in Eugene is a notoriously tough place to play, the Ducks have their usual "basketball on a gridiron" offense led by Marcus Mariota--a quarterback who has the speed and quickness of a Denard Robinson combined with size and the ability to throw the ball. He seems to combine all the best attributes of, say, Denard Robinson, Russell Wilson, Braxton Miller, and Taylor Martinez. Mariota may be the best quarterback MSU has faced in the Mark Dantonio era.
Obviously, an MSU win would be huge in a hostile environment against a quick strike offense in extreme heat. (Temps are expected to hit the mid-90s in Eugene, Oregon). As a fan, I'm trying to view this game philosophically. If the Spartans lose, I don't want to be as dour as I was last year after the Notre Dame game. This has the makings of an incredibly tough game, and as long as MSU keeps it competitive, it should be beneficial for the Spartans in the long run.