Last night's MSU/Indiana game was simply terrible. So bad, in fact, that I don't even know where to start.
Stupid penalties kill this team in a way I haven't seen since the John L. Smith era, although we may have seen it in 2009 as well. Perhaps the most glaring was a "leaping" penalty on Indiana's first field goal attempt in overtime. Some on message boards felt it was an obscure penalty that may have been mis-applied in this case, but it was the icing on the cake of what was a mistake-filled, uninspired MSU performance.
The only time MSU had any fire under its collective butt was when they were down 21-14. They finally ran the ball with some aggression and sense of purpose, with Gerald Holmes looking much better than a somewhat listless L.J. Scott.
Then there's Tyler O'Connor. He looks like Andrew Maxwell with mobility. There is little touch on his throws, and I don't sense much in the way of leadership on the field. Although he wasn't necessarily bad last night, he just seems to lack something. Perhaps I/we were spoiled by by Connor Cook more than we even imagined.
I don't know if it has to do with youth, injuries, complacency, lack of leadership, but this entire Spartan football team has taken several steps down this season. I expected a dip this season, but certainly didn't anticipate such a precipitous downturn.
Added to the unease is the great start for that school down the road. Michigan State fans will need to buck up and listen to a lot of boasting and chest-thumping from the blue-and-yellow clad hordes.
My conclusion: It looks like a long year for Spartan football.