No. 2 Michigan State pulls away from CMU
Final: No. 2 Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10
Telling stat: Shilique Calhoun’s 2.5 sacks, 2 blocked kicks
The Michigan State defensive end put the team on his back on Saturday. A rarely sluggish group was boosted by not one, but TWO blocked kicks by Calhoun. The last time Michigan State blocked two kicks in a game was 1989 and Calhoun did it twice in the first half. He also came up with 2.5 sacks to stall some key CMU drives. We’ve been waiting for that banner day from Calhoun this season, and we certainly got it on Saturday.
Key play: Calhoun sack on third and long
Central Michigan actually had a chance to tie it up in the fourth quarter against Michigan State. But on third and long, MSU’s best defensive player came up with his biggest sack of the day and forced a punt. The Spartans turned around and ripped off a 61-yard touchdown drive to put the game on ice. Spartan fans would’ve been awfully uneasy had CMU converted on third down and picked up a key conversion to get into Spartan territory. Calhoun had none of that.
-Cook wasn’t exposed
Mark Dantonio made it a point to try and beat the Chippewas on the ground. He wasn’t about to let Connor Cook throw the ball 40 times and risk losing his star signal-caller right before B1G play kicked off. He only completed 11 passes, and just 10 after the first play from scrimmage was a 42-yard toss to Macgarrett Kings Jr. It certainly wasn’t the monster day that many would’ve expected of the Heisman Trophy candidate, but it didn’t need to be. More important, MSU is 4-0 heading into B1G play with their quarterback healthy.
-Jack Conklin left first half with knee injury
Speaking of guys Michigan State couldn’t afford to lose, Conklin was one of them. The preseason All-American offensive tackle went down in the first half with a knee injury and was sidelined with a brace throughout the second half. To make matters worse, tight end Josiah Price and safety RJ Williamson were also banged up in this one. For a team that was already without Vayante Copeland, Cody Kieler and Ed Davis, the Spartans cannot afford any more injuries. Their depth could be tested early in B1G play. No word was made official on Conklin’s long-term status, but there’s nothing good about losing your stud left tackle.
What it means: Michigan State isn’t riding all the momentum
I thought that the Spartans would have a chance to be sitting quite pretty after this one. A No. 2 ranking, their first 4-0 start in five years and a comfortable victory would’ve been all the makings of momentous start to B1G play. Instead, MSU was only up a touchdown in the fourth quarter to a MAC school, it suffered more tough injuries, and it failed to cover the spread for the fourth straight time this season. I’m a believer in the Spartans as a national championship contender, but this team certainly hasn’t reached its potential yet.