The Michigan State Spartans really struggled this past weekend against the Badgers, and there are lots of changes that need to be made before they head down to Bloomington to battle the Indiana Hoosiers under the lights.
Number One: The Spartans have to establish an identity. Offensively, defensively, and as a team – the Spartans won’t make it far without an established game plan. I do believe the Michigan State offense relies heavily on their run game, and that hurt them this past Saturday. Both MSU and Wisconsin defenses shut down their opponents run game forcing them to pass. Wisconsin was able to adapt to this while Michigan State was not. This is a huge reason the Spartans lost. I believe Dave Warner needs to become more creative with the offense, so if faced with another shutdown run game the Spartans can continue battling and find the end zone.
Number Two: The Spartans must improve their third down game. The offense struggled to convert, and the defense struggled to shut down. Winning the third down margin is a mark the Spartans must win. You won’t win many games going three-and-out, and you won’t win by allowing your opponent to drive down the field.
Number Three: There needs to be some rotation amongst the offensive line. Some o-line mixes are successful while others are not. The offensive must find the best match to push back the defense and allow the QB to have a little more time. Tyler O'Connor was consistently under presser against the Badgers forcing him into bad judgment calls and turnovers.
Number Four: The defensive line needs to power up. When looking at the stats following Furman, and Wisconsin, Michigan State's top four leading tacklers did not include a name from the front four. Against Wisconsin our top five tacklers included all four defensive backs, this allowed the Badgers to shred us in the backfield. Defensive backs can’t be successful in the backfield if they need to be concerned with coming up to the line to make stops.
Number Five: Is Tyler O'Connor up to the challenge to be a Big Ten quarterback? For as good as he was last week against Notre Dame, he was just as bad this week against Wisconsin. Yes, the o-line wasn’t able to get the preferred push; however, Michigan State needs a quarterback who is able to adapt better to that exact situation. Let’s see how well O'Connor plays against Indiana and then reevaluate the MSU QB situation. Is it time for Damion Terry to get some snaps? Or Brian Lewerke who got the ball with a few minutes left against Wisconsin?
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The Indiana game will be a good test for the Spartans. What did they change following the Wisconsin loss? Were they able to bounce back? Subscribe and become a member to Spartan Digest. Lots of insider information and analysis on our premium discussion board. Then leave your thoughts on Michigan State's loss to Wisconsin.