Five Takeaways: Iowa edition

MSU showed it can move the ball well, but what does it mean going forward? What were the keys in the strong showing on Saturday? SpartanDigest looks at those things and more.

1. Bennie Fowler might be a legit option at WR

Fowler had the best game in his career at MSU, which has been injury-plagued. He had nine catches for 94 yards and a touchdown – and it was a huge touchdown. Not only was it was from 37 yards out, which is a big deal for the offense, but it came on the first drive of the second half and put MSU back in the lead after Iowa had taken all the momentum in the second quarter.

Fowler played Saturday like people have expected him to play his entire career at MSU. He is back in the mix now and looks like he will stay.

2. MSU used the bye week well.

The bye week came at a perfect time for MSU as it headed into Big Ten play, but it came out even better than fans probably envisioned. Connor Cook cleaned up his play and had clearly worked hard on his mechanics – despite the work that is left. They worked on the same plays that Cook struggled to convert on in Notre Dame, with post flat routes and corner routes being in the arsenal now.

Delton Williams had gotten the reps and was ready to go in and take some big carries in the fourth quarter.

Bye weeks are beneficial and MSU took great advantage of this one.

3. The (run) defense is elite

Iowa came into the game averaging more than 244 yards per game rushing. MSU held the Hawkeyes to 23 yards rushing. 23. Now, their best running back missed most of the game after leaving early with an injury, but MSU took on a big, physical offensive line to get to the ball carrier.

Iowa might have put up big numbers against no-so-great opponents, but MSU still shut the ground game down with ease. The Hawkeyes longest run was a QB scramble for 7 yards and that's because he was having to move around quite a bit.

4. This could be the best offensive line MSU had had lately

Going into the game, the talk for the offensive line was how tough and punishing the Iowa front seven is. MSU didn't put up a ton of yards on the ground, but they put up enough to make a case that it could run the ball.

The pass protection was the most encouraging element – the part that MSU has struggled with more recently. Connor Cook was barely hit for the second straight week and wasn't sacked. He had time to throw and did so confidently. A lot of that credit goes to the guys up front.

Mark Staten said the Notre Dame game was the best game an O-line has played since Dantonio and Co. arrived and this one also was solid.

5 MSU could win a lot of games

Cook said after the game MSU has a goal of three touchdowns per game because it believes they will win a lot of games with the tough defense. If the offense can do that, they probably will have done enough to win each game.

I agree with that sentiment. 21-27 points should win most games for MSU unless the defense doesn't show up in a random game. If the offense can play like it did Saturday at Iowa, this team will make an impact on the Big Ten race and teams certainly have to respect the MSU offense a little bit more now.


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