Five Takeaways: Nebraska edition

MSU got all the bounces and won without playing its best, but what can we learn from the win?

1. The wide receivers can step up

Coming into the season, Michigan State's wide receiver corps were much scrutinized for their plays last season – and how it carried over into 2013. As the offense has improved, a lot of that has centered on the wide receivers making the routine catches, and some more difficult ones, too.

Junior Tony Lippett and senior Bennie Fowler have been the keys to that as both have been routinely making some tough catches and, more often than not, third-down plays with yards after the catch. None was more evident than Lippett with a 34-yard gain and 20-yard gain on third down.

2. A win is a win

There is no doubt Saturday's win didn't transpire in the way most would have expected. The defense struggled and the offense had to make plays. While the defense likely will get praise for five turnovers, it was gashed in ways unseen this season.

Nevertheless, MSU did enough in all facets of the game – special teams included – to pull out a win it needed to have to keep moving forward to its goals.

3. Maybe Connor Cook's middle name really is resilient

Resilient has been Mark Dantonio's favorite word to describe Cook's play this season and the reason why was clear against Nebraska. Cook was not great and missed some easy and important throws early, but kept going to the air and working and made the plays when it mattered most.

He didn't turn the ball over again and handled more pressure than he is accustomed to, but ran the offense and came out on top.

4. The defense is human

It didn't take long to see MSU's stout defense was not itself Saturday. Not to slight Ameer Abdullah, who is a phenomenal running back, but that was not the Spartans defense that fans are used to seeing. MSU allowed more than 100 yards rushing in a game for the first time this season and gave up a season-high 392 yards – 41 more than the previous high against Indiana. They also gave up 28 points, tying the season high also from the Indiana game.

5. Lady luck is smiling upon MSU

The stats will show Michigan State forced five turnovers. Did they FORCE five? No. They forced two, perhaps three (Kurtis Drummond's interception was throw right at him). But the four fumbles were the kind of things that didn't happen for the Spartans last year. Those balls bounced away from them, but this year they are getting the bounces and that's the kind of thing that happens when you're a good team that can make plays – the ball will favor you. It's basically science.


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