Michigan State is off to a great 2-0 start this season and it is for good reason. Several Spartans are sitting at the tops of the Big Ten Conference and here is a breakdown of where they stack up.
While everyone knows that Michigan running back Denard Robinson is tearing things up, Michigan State sophomore running back Edwin Baker is right behind and with a better average per rush. Freshman Le'Veon Bell comes in at the eighth spot giving the Spartans two players in the Top Ten.
1. D. Robinson: 455 yards on 57 attempts and 3 touchdowns.
2. E. Baker: 300 yards on 32 attempts and 3 touchdowns.
8. L. Bell: 190 yards on 20 attempts and 3 touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins comes in at the tenth spot with Ohio State signal caller Terrelle Pryor sitting at the top. But while Cousins may be sitting behind the rest of the conference, his overall numbers are solid as he is hitting on just under 58% of his passes and has only 1 interception. The quarterback that is really making noise is Northwestern signal caller Dan Persa who is hitting on just over 86% of his passes with no interceptions and 5 touchdowns.
The Spartans have no one listed in the top ten of the conference in this area and for good reasons, as the team has been able to control the first two games on the ground.
Junior Keshawn Martin is sitting at the top of the list of punt returns with his five returns for 67 yards and a 13.4 average. Keshawn is also listed in the kick return top eight at the sixth spot.
Spartan senior punter Aaron Bates sits third in the Big Ten in punting with an average of 46.1 yards per punt.
Sophomore kicker Dan Conroy is sitting with several other kickers in field goals with a 100% rating having gone 4-of-4 so far, but his 50-yard kick this past Saturday is the longest of the season in the conference.
Senior linebacker Greg Jones (20) is just one tackle off the pace of Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton (21) while senior Eric Gordon (19), and sophomore Chris Norman (18) are poised to have big years as well.
The Spartans sit at the fourth spot in scoring offense and trail Michigan in rushing offense but have a national ranking of eleventh with their 522 rushing yards. The Spartans are tenth in passing offense but rank sixth in total offense.
The Spartans are fourth in scoring defense in the Big Ten but lead the conference in rushing defense with a national ranking of ninth. Pass defense finds the Spartans at ninth while they have an overall defense of fifth.
Overall & Concerns
Some area of concern is when you look at the numbers comes in 3-rd down conversions as the Spartans are tenth having only converted 4 out of 18 chances. They are also tenth in allowing their opponents to convert third downs having allowed 15 successful attempts on 39 chances. The Spartans are also one of the worst teams in the conference in penalties having committed 15 penalties for 112 yards. Opponents have also been bad against the Spartans having committed 16 penalties for 110 yards. The Spartans are also tenth in the conference in time of possession with an average of 24:16 minutes per game. Red-Zone offense and defense find the Spartans at the sixth spot in each.