2011 Michigan State Spartans Football

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Michigan State vs Central Michigan Football Preview



It’s time for a wounded team to flex its muscles and learn how to be an aggressor once again.

After being trounced at Notre Dame last Saturday, the Michigan State Spartans return home this week to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas.

The Spartans outgained the Irish a week ago, but 12 penalties, a first-quarter Irish kickoff return touchdown, and a key fourth-quarter interception on a first-and-goal play from the Notre Dame 3, sank Michigan State. Sparty’s quarterback, Kirk Cousins, completed 34 of 53 pass attempts for 329 yards and a touchdown.  His favorite receiving target, B.J. Cunningham, caught 12 passes for 158 yards.   

Michigan State merchandiseThe Michigan State offensive line struggled against the Irish.  The Spartans rushed for just 29 yards, and Cousins was often under heavy pressure. In five red-zone opportunities, the Spartans scored just 10 points.  One of their red-zone failures was the result of an unsuccessful fake field goal late in the first half. As a result of these miscues and fundamental shortcomings, Michigan State, ranked 15th in the AP Poll last week, is now unranked. The Spartans’ winning identity, forged with consistency and care over the course of an 11-1 march to prominence last season, was severely dented by the loss in South Bend, Indiana. This team can’t fully regain all of its mojo by playing a downmarket opponent from the Mid-American Conference, but it can at least clean up its mistakes, erase its bad habits, and develop some confidence along the offensive front.  

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The Chippewas are coached by former Spartan quarterback Dan Enos, who served as an assistant at Michigan State until taking over at CMU in 2010. Central Michigan was blasted 44-14 at Western Michigan last week in their Mid American Conference opener.  Quarterback Ryan Radcliff completed 20 of 36 passes for 215 yards.  Running back Tim Phillips ran for a season-high 84 yards on 11 carries. Remarkably, CMU did not take a single penalty last week, even though that display of discipline meant absolutely nothing – a 30-point loss makes a lack of laundry a very hollow point of consolation… if it even represents consolation in the first place.

The Chippewas are playing their third straight road game.  CMU was outscored 21-0 in the second half of a 27-13 loss at Kentucky two weeks ago. In his second year as the starting quarterback, Radcliff has completed 58 of 108 passes for 678 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer


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