Five Takeaways: Eastern Michigan Edition

Three games in, we take a look at what we learned about Michigan State against EMU as some questions remain, while the offense looks to be clicking -- and growing.

1. It is still hard to get a legitimate read on this team

Michigan State had a blowout win against Jacksonville State, a competitive game against Oregon and a blowout win against Eastern Michigan. So, in that, it has handled easily an FCS team, a bad FBS team and lost to a very good team. The performances went about as expected, as Michigan State dominated the two lesser teams, while having ups and downs against Oregon. So what do we actually know about the Spartans at this point? Hard to say. The defense has dominated twice, but been beaten on the other. I think the jury will be out a little bit on Michigan State until it meets Nebraska on Oct. 4.

2. The offense has more to give

That sounds foolish, but bear with me. For the first time this season, a special package with Damion Terry has been shown (“brass” it was called). The run game is coming along better as the offensive line does, which will only continue with Connor Kruse returning. Throw in the way the wide receivers have been used on jet sweeps – I believe R.J. Shelton, Keith Mumphery, MacGarrett Kings and Aaron Burbridge all have been used now – I think there is more for this offense to do moving forward.

3. Coverage busts are the No. 1 concern

Up until this game, run blocking had been an issue that I was hoping to see fixed and Michigan State came out and did a good job of that Saturday. Now, the focus moves to shoring up mistakes in the secondary. It was a killer at Oregon and both touchdowns for Eastern Michigan were scored on busts, with other opportunities missed by Eagles quarterback Robert Bolden. That could be an issue come Big Ten play with better quarterbacks and teams.

4. Delton Williams needs to be a bigger part of the offense

Williams had three touchdowns, two close to the goal line as he was just a physical runner. One of the short runs featured Williams running through defenders. That is a presence Michigan State needs moving forward to complement Jeremy Langford. Nick Hill is solid in pass protection and is an okay running back, but Williams brings a different skill set that is needed. Michigan State should have him on the field much more moving forward.

5. Connor Cook to Tony Lippett is the new Kirk Cousins to B.J. Cunningham

Since Cunningham graduated, Michigan State has not really had a go-to receiver whenever it needs a big play. Bennie Fowler became consistent last season, but there was nothing to the extent of Cousins to Cunningham and now what Cook to Lippett has become. There is a huge degree of chemistry there and it has led to a lot of points for the Spartans so far and should continue to do that through the year.


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