Spartans Must Do Better Job of Run Stopping

The California Golden Bears offensive line did a little "trash talking" heading into their season opener against Michigan State and backed it up in their 38-31 win against the Spartans.

EAST LANSING - The California Golden Bears offensive line did a little "trash talking" heading into their season opener against Michigan State and backed it up in their 38-31 win against the Spartans.

The Cal run attack of Jahvid Best and Shane Vareen gashed the MSU defense for 202 yards and two touchdowns combined. Meanwhile, MSU's Javon Ringer rang up a respectable 81 yards rushing on 27 carries, but the output was less than what the team hoped for coming into the contest.

The problem could rear its ugly head against this week when the Spartans host the underrated Eastern Michigan Eagles.

The Eagles are among the favorites to win the MAC East division and are fresh off a 56-0 stomping of the Indiana State Sycamores.

In that contest, EMU piled up and astounding 607 yards of total offense including 413 yards rushing led by senior tailback Terrence Blevins of Detroit Denby high school who put up 176 yards rushing a two touchdowns alone.

MSU head coach Mark Dantonio alluded to the problems in his media briefing Sunday evening after the team returned from its unsuccessful trip to Berkeley, CA.

"Defensively, we got out of our gaps some. We faced a very good offensive lines; one of the better ones that we've seen, certainly since I've been here," he said. "Anytime you play a team like this, that's well coached, you'd better make sure that you're gap sound defensively. They forced us into some adjustments that we hadn't practiced, they got us out of our gaps a little bit and they creased us."

Adding to the Spartans defensive woes is the fact that MSU's front four of Dewayne Holmes, Justin Kershaw, Oren Wilson and Colin Neely could't generate a pass rush against the Bears either.

The Spartans also rotated in Trevor Anderson, Brandon Long, Kevin Pickelman, MSU had just one sack (Neely and Kershaw combined) against Cal's Kevin Riley who threw 20 for 30 for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Expect the Spartans to work hard on keeping gap control against the Eagles this week in an attempt to force more plays to the linebacking corps that saw Greg Jones lead the team with eight tackles including two for loss.

The other two starters, Adam Decker (seven) and Eric Gordon (six) combined for thirteen. Ryan Allison who was the surprise of fall camp, did not record a tackle and played sparingly.


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