Thoughts on the pre-game scuffle. A brief recap of the events that took place prior to the game: Supposedly, Michigan State was 10 minutes late for their warmup, which they begin with an arm-in-arm walk down the field; their lateness meant that some Michigan players were already stretching on the field, so they walked right through the Michigan players (Lawrence Marshall, Lavert Hill, and others), resulting in a physical altercation. Without that context, it looked pretty unsportsmanlike for Devin Bush, Jr. to tear up the Spartan in the middle of the field with his cleats, digging an “L” into the grass. Provided that context . . . I shrug my shoulders. Tradition or not, MSU’s team doesn’t need to walk arm-in-arm the entire length of the field and make physical contact with the opposing team’s players. The rule in football is that each team stays on its own side of the 50-yard line in pre-game warmups. If you need to get to the other end of the field, you use the sidelines.
Hit the jump for more.
Thoughts on the post-game comments. Jim Harbaugh says MSU’s actions were “bush league” and that Mark Dantonio was 5 yards behind the dustup with a smile on his face the entire time. Video confirmed it. Mark Dantonio denied it. Dantonio is a lying liar who lies, working at a school that promotes denial and institutional cover-ups. Not that this event is on the same level as issues with Larry Nassar and Tom Izzo, but when you see co-workers get away with much worse for years, what disincentive is there to carry yourself with dignity?
Tape speaks for itself (see right side of screen). pic.twitter.com/WXLVhEL15m
— Sean Yuille (@SeanYuille) October 20, 2018
Kudos to the offensive line. It may not have seemed like Michigan’s offensive line did a great job, but MSU was allowing 2.34 yards/carry and was #1 in overall rushing defense (62.3 yards allowed/game). Michigan averaged 3.5 yards/carry and netted 183 rushing yards. Those numbers aren’t stellar, but they’re solid, considering this was the #1 rush defense in the nation. Not many big runs were broken, but Michigan allowed just 5 tackles for loss (on non-sacks), 1 of which was a jet sweep play that didn’t have much to do with the line.
Michigan got lucky that MSU’s offense sucks. Michigan’s defense is obviously very good, but that Michigan State offense is putrid. I haven’t seen many (any?) worse performances by a quarterback than Brian Lewerke’s, in which he finished 5/25 for 66 yards and ran 4 times for -11 yards. That’s a 20% completion percentage, and he finished with 55 yards on 29 plays in which he was directly involved. Oh, wait – he caught a 4-yard touchdown pass on a trick play, so make that 59 yards on 30 plays.
I found myself muttering under my breath a lot during MSU’s final drive. Michigan State was able to march down the field with a little over two minutes remaining, purely because Michigan was undisciplined. There was a late hit out of bounds, a pass interference, a roughing the passer call, etc.
The officials were weird. I saw Chase Winovich get leveled from behind (should have been a penalty) after the play (should have been a penalty) with no call. I saw Cesar Ruiz getting bent back after the play, and no flag was thrown until Michael Onwenu came in to shove the offender. I saw MSU’s Tre Person with illegal hands to the face (should have been a penalty), Donovan Peoples-Jones shove him (should have been a penalty), and then Person throw a punch (should have been an ejection). The result? Off-setting penalties. It seemed like the referees were looking for reasons to hand out off-setting penalties, hoping that the threat of an ejection would keep those guys in check. It worked, I guess, because nobody was ejected, but the punishments didn’t seem to fit the crimes. On top of all that, Karan Higdon and Devin Bush were both hit with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for what looked like nothing, the weirdest of which was Higdon’s from when he simply seemed to stand up after being tackled. Michigan ended up with 9 penalties for 99 yards, while MSU had 4 for 40.
I hate Michigan State. The end.
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