ANALYSIS: Time for MSU to produce

The Michigan State University football team is at a crossroads. The team's head coach is on the hotseat and has the two toughest games it'll play all season coming up in the next two weeks. What happens next is all up to them.

EAST LANSING - The Michigan State University football team is at a crossroads. The team's head coach is on the hotseat and has the two toughest games it'll play all season coming up in the next two weeks.

What happens next is all up to them.

Michigan State possesses as much talent as any team in the Big Ten. Their offense sports three seniors including two capable of breaking the school's all-time receiving record. Their defense has a talented linebacking corps and a solid secondary.

The problem with the Spartans is leadership and character.

Spartans senior captain Cliff Ryan angrily castigated the media for what he perceived as continually bringing up negativity and the Spartans poor finishes of the past. But Ryan, along with senior quarterback Drew Stanton need to look in the mirror. These are the players who are expected to make the plays that change the games in MSU's favor.

When was the last time either stepped up and made a game-changing play for the better?

The Spartans claim they have "their coaches' back" and even Smith himself said that MSU's players and coaches are "all together", but too many times, MSU has talked a good game, but hasn't shown up on the field.

Their coaches' head is on the chopping block and there is no more room to backup. They gave that away - on homecoming no less - against a putrid Illinois squad that didn't belong on the field with them.

It's time for MSU to stop talking and start producing. They can turn their season around by going to Ann Arbor and beating the Wolverines. This is not a task that is insurmountable, but it will take a solid 60-minute effort without the usual collapse down the stretch.

MSU has proven as a team that they can play with anyone in the country, even in defeat against Notre Dame.

No it's time to put up or shut up.

It's time for Drew Stanton to come up with a signature game that marks him as a big-time quarterback. It's time for Cliff Ryan to come up with a monster game that defines him as a big-time pro prospect defensive lineman.

No more excuses, it's time to win.


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