2011 Michigan State Spartans Football
Michigan State vs Florida Atlantic Football Preview
Florida Atlantic head coach Howard Schnellenburger will retire after this season, and when he does, he’ll be able to get a free ticket just about anywhere after racking up gobs of frequent flyer miles early this season.
Saturday’s trip to East Lansing, the second of five consecutive road games to start the season, pits the legendary coach’s Owls against 17th-ranked Michigan State. It might just be a flight he hopes to miss, should the rankings prove prophetic.
The Spartans should come out focused and prepared after displaying lackluster effort while kicking off their season with a 28-6 win over FCS school Youngstown State. Head coach Mark Dantonio probably expected a score-line more like the 41-3 beat down FAU suffered in their opener at the hands of the 22nd-ranked Florida Gators. Considering that MSU is rated than the Gators, this game has the making of a blowout.
And the Spartan offense has all the weapons necessary to do the job, starting with senior quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Holland, Michigan native has a career completion percentage just a smidge under 65 percent and is considered to be one of the top signal-callers in the Big Ten, if not the country. On the other end of his throws is receiver B.J. Cunningham. The two hooked up nine times for 130 yards and a score against Youngstown State. With just one connection against FAU, the 6-2, 215 pound senior wideout will set a new school record for career receptions, breaking the previous mark of 148 held by Matt Trannon.
Joining them is explosive junior running back Edwin Baker, a first-team All-Big Ten selection a year ago. Baker put up 183 yards on just 15 attempts against FAU when the two teams met last September. His average per carry was bolstered by a career best 80-yards touchdown run in that 30-17 victory. He will dart through holes bulldozed by returning guards Joel Foreman and Chris McDonald, who – besides having quintessentially non-descript offensive lineman names – are replete with experience, particularly Foreman, a senior and fourth-year starter.
FAU counters on offense with a first-year starter at quarterback in junior Graham Wilbert and a stable of running backs, headed by senior Alfred Morris, which managed only 30 yards on 30 carries against Florida. None of the Florida Atlantic receivers will strike fear into the hearts of a young Michigan State defense that returns just three starters from last year’s Co-Big Ten title winning team.
Needless to say, it could be a long flight home for Schnellenburger and the Owls.
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