ALL YOUR SPITOONS BELONG TO US. (Photo by Rashaun Rucker, Detroit Free Press)
- Indiana did a good job for the most part restraining Ringer, but once again, he broke his biggest runs in the 4th quarter. I'm going to quit asking how the increased work load is going to affect him down the line this year, as it hasn't seemed to affect him yet. I'm more worried about the OL whiffing on blocks and allowing linebackers to tackle him unfettered.
- On that note, though, would it kill the staff to get Andre Anderson more time at tailback? I know he's small, so blocking for passes may be an issue, but he's looked good every time I've seen him.
- Hoyer did what he had to today: Make a few big plays, not turn the ball over (although he came real close a couple times), and run the offense efficiently to the tune of 40 points (not counting the safety). I don't understand why others are complaining. I sincerely believe there are some portions of the MSU fan base that won't be happy unless Hoyer completes all his passes in a game, run for three touchdowns in said game, and rides a unicorn into the sunset.
- Brett Swenson: money. There's nothing else to say, he nailed all the field goals today, three of them from 45 yards and out. The best performance I've seen by a Spartan kicker in a long time.
- Aaron Bates: not as money as Swenson, but still money. He was athletic enough to cover the blocked punt to stop the Hoosiers from getting five more points, and his punt to the IU 1 set up the MSU safety. He shanked a 29-yarder in the game as well, but for the most part, he was effective.
- The defense...meh. On one hand, the big plays. Oh, the big plays. There were a couple times when Marcus Thigpen ran unobstructed into the end zone, a failure on both the linebackers and the safeties' part. On the other hand, they came up with turnovers when they needed them, with interceptions by Ross Weaver and Danny Fortener setting up scores, and Rucker's forced fumble sealed the game. I'll be nervous if this continues, but I'll give them a mulligan this week.
- Otis Wiley...hey, we all have bad days, and Otis had one yesterday. His whiff on Thigpen gave up a touchdown, and he muffed two punts. He atoned in part for these mistakes by recovering a fumble late in the 4th, but overall, not the best of days for him.
- The defensive line could get a little more pressure, but I'm pleased with their performance. Trevor Anderson had a sack, and it's hard to get hits and sacks when the opposing QB keeps running out of a three-step drop.
As for the rest of the Big Ten:
- Welcome to the real world, Golden Gophers. You made that game look closer than it really was, but in this game, you were the dead frog, and Ohio State was the high school biology student. Consider yourself dissected. In other news, It's become clear that Tressel's going to have Pryor throw just enough to win, which is about 12-15 times a game. In the Big Ten this year, that should be enough to beat everybody but Penn State.
- Note to Iowa - any time you turn over the ball five times, you do not deserve to win. Northwestern wins unimpressively again, but they're 5-0, and that's the only stat that matters. Wildcat fans also have to be happy that they've got C.J. Bacher back after he went missing for the first four games. The question I have is this: Is it better to have a bye week and prepare for the MSU game, letting the hype build, or would they be better serve by playing immediately again and keeping their hot streak? We'll see.
- Wisconsin - see the note to Iowa, with this addendum - any time you let Steven Threet break a run for over 50 yards you definitely don't deserve to win. The way the Badgers choked that game away gave me flashbacks to the 2004 UM-MSU game. The game also served as a template to how Michigan will win most of their Big Ten games this year: let the defense recover a turnover in good field position to facilitate scoring, and don't let the offense cough up the ball. That said, if the Wolverines allow a team to score more than 24 points on them, they'll be in big trouble.
- Purdue - shameful performance allowing Armando Allen to run for more than 100 yards the week after MSU held Notre Dame to 16 yards on the ground. I knew the Boilermaker defense would be mediocre, but having the offense score 14 points? This loss definitely dropped Purdue to the bottom tier of the Big Ten.
- It took Derrick Williams a few years to do it, but he finally proved why he was the #1 recruit in the nation. Penn State gave up a decent amount of yards to Illinois, but against that offense, it'll happen. The main point is that the Spread HD (remember when that name used to be mocked a month and a half ago? Good times.) worked to the tune of 31 points. Add in a kickoff return for a TD, and 38 points will be enough to beat most teams. More and more, it's looking like the October 25th game pitting the Nittany Lions against the Buckeyes at The Horseshoe will be the de facto conference title game.