"O" Line Gutting Out, Shaking Off Injuries

"They did a great job. It shows the versatility we have at offensive line," Brian Hoyer said about his patchwork O-line against Notre Dame. "I think that's a testament to those guys any time you see over 200 yards rushing and one sack, their doing a pretty good job."

EAST LANSING - Despite the rash of injuries on their offensive line, Michigan State has not only weathered the storm, but excelled in the toughest game of the season so far at Notre Dame. That performance bodes well for the Spartans as they move into the Big Ten portion of their schedule next week at Wisconsin, where controlling the ball on offense will be a priority.

It began in the offseason with tackle Mike Gyetvai undergoing shoulder injury. It continued in the preseason when incoming freshman Arthur Ray was diagnosed with cancer and center John Masters bruised a leg in a scrimmage.

Next, guard Roland Martin was hurt in the Pittsburgh game and fellow guard Kenny Shane went out early against Notre Dame. For the rest of the Notre Dame game, the Spartans were playing Gyetvai, in his first game back from the shoulder injury, at guard, where he had never played in his life; a backup at center, where Joel Nitchmen has excelled; and a backup at left guard with Mike Bacon.

"Bacon came in, did a nice job in place of (Shane)," coach Mark Dantonio said.

Spartan quarterback Brian Hoyer agrees.

"They did a great job," he said. "It shows the versatility we have at offensive line. Kenny Shane gets hurt . . . and Bacon has to move to left guard and Mike (Gyetvai) steps up and plays the whole game. I don't think they wanted him to go for the whole game his first game out."

Gyetvai said the return to the field was welcome.

"It felt great," he said. "I'm a little rust obviously, because I haven't played in close to a year, but it felt great being back out there."

Hoyer might disagree with that assessment.

"(The offensive line) did a great job all day. Run blocking, I mean, we had over 200 yards rushing. I only got sacked one time, so, I think that's a testament to those guys any time you see over 200 yards rushing and one sack, their doing a pretty good job," he said.

And Dantonio knew controlling the football would put his team at a significant advantage, something he hopes will continue into the Big Ten schedule, where, like against Notre Dame, controlling the football is the name of the game.

"I thought offensively, we were able to control the ball. The team that runs the ball most effectively in this game has usually won it I would say 95 percent of the time."

NOTES:
Although the injuries to O-lineman appear to be day-to-day, when they might be fully healthy again is anyone's guess: Dantonio refuses to talk specifics when it comes to injuries.

When asked for an update on Martin and CB Ross Weaver, Dantonio responded, "Yeah, both those guys are coming along satisfactorily. How is that?"

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