You can't have thoughts running through your mind about what you could of done better in Week 1 if you expect to come out of Spartan Stadium with a win this Saturday against Michigan State.
Mark Dantonio and Michigan State are an offensive coordinator's worst nightmare, leading the Big Ten in total defense the previous two seasons. The Spartans defense was flat out dominant in Week 1, tallying three interceptions, nine tackles for losses, five sacks, eleven pass break-ups, and an eye popping two defensive touchdowns.
The Spartans returned seven starters and 11 players with starting experience for their stellar defense in 2013. Mark Dantonio will flash a defense that sits in nice company with Alabama and Florida State as the only schools in the nation to rank among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense the past two seasons.
After displaying the quarterback inconsistencies against McNeese State, you best believe the Spartans defense, led by team captain and senior linebacker Max Bullough, are salivating to get their hands on Coach Taggart's ball club. Bullough, who led the Spartans with 9 tackles and 2.5 TFL against Western Michigan, isn't the only star on the defensive side of the ball for Mark Dantonio.
The Spartans return five players who received All-Big Ten recognition on defense in 2012. Aside from Bullough, who was a first team selection, cornerback Darqueze Dennard was a first team selection as well. Mark Dantonio also had 3 more Spartans who received honors, all earning honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and media, senior linebacker Denicos Allen, senior safety Isaiah Lewis and junior defensive end Marcus Rush.
In 2012, Michigan State's defense held four opponents without an offensive touchdown, Boise State, Michigan, Minnesota, and Central Michigan. Another impressive accolade the Spartans hold is their three-and-out percentage. Michigan State forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 68 of 167 possessions (41 percent; 5.23 per game - fourth in the NCAA FBS).
To sum everything up that I just provided you with, South Florida will have to play mistake free football on the offensive side of the ball to leave East Lansing with a win to lead the series 1-0. The Bulls scored just 21 points against McNeese State in their season opener, passing for only 209 yards, which has to improve drastically.
Marcus Shaw had a career high of 147 yards on 12 carries in Week 1. Letting Shaw set the pace for USF is crucial in East Lansing if they want to stand a chance against the elite defense of Michigan State, who held their opponents scoreless in 23 of 52 quarters (44 percent) in 2012.