Michigan State Spartans College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Michigan State Spartans Biggest Key: Offense
Interceptions … STOP THROWING THEM.
The Michigan State offense has a ton of problems it has to fix. The running game has to work, the line has to be better, there have to be more third down conversions, being anything but last in the Big Ten in scoring would be neat …
The interceptions are a killer.
The Spartans started off the 2020 season with five lost fumbles, but there were two picks to go along with the rest of the fun.
Three interceptions against Iowa. Three more against Indiana, Two against Ohio State. There were 12 in the seven games, 15 in 2019, and 14 in 2018 after coming up with just eight in 2017.
Over the last two seasons, Michigan State has thrown multiple picks nine teams and lost eight of those games.
Oh, by the way, likely new starting quarterback Anthony Russo threw 32 interceptions in his 27 games at Temple.
Michigan State Spartans Biggest Key: Defense
Where’s the pass rush? To take a little bit of heat off the D – the offense rarely provided the slightest lick of help or support. Okay, enough of that …
The defense didn’t do enough to change around games.
It occasionally did – like early on against Northwestern – but in general the D struggled to force opposing offenses to struggle.
No, the 2020 pass rush wasn’t as miserable as the 2016 version that came up with 11 in the ugly 3-9 season, but it wasn’t good.
There were four sacks in the win over Northwestern and three more against Ohio State a week later, but there were a mere 12 sacks on the season and fewer than two in four of the seven games.
The 2019 defense came up with 40 sacks and failed to get two or more in just two of the 13 games.
Michigan State Spartans Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Anthony Russo, Sr.
The Spartans need better quarterback play.
Brian Leweke was fine, Rocky Lombardi was interesting, and Tyler O’Connor had his moments. Those three were coming after Connor Cook – who, if you go strictly by top lines of the resumé – was among the most accomplished Big Ten quarterbacks ever.
The 6-4, 245-pound Russo was solid in his first two seasons at Temple – leading the way to two bowl appearances with 35 touchdowns – but he threw a whole lot of interceptions and he got banged up early last season.
He can sling it, and as long as he can get the offense moving, he’ll be doing his job.
Michigan State Spartans Key Game To The 2021 Season
Michigan, Oct. 30
You want to endear yourself to the base if you’re the head coach? Go 2-for-2 against the self-proclaimed leaders and best.
Michigan State’s 2-5 season was miserable overall, but 1) there was a win over Big Ten West champion Northwestern, and 2) Michigan State 27, Michigan 24.
The paraphrase the old – and very, very silly – adage, if you go 2-5 but one of those wins is over your arch-rival, it was a successful season.
The Spartans get a week off before hosting the Fighting Harbaughs, and the other side will be coming off a battle against Northwestern.
2020 Michigan State Spartans Fun Stats
– Rushing TDs: Opponents 20 – Michigan State 2
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:50 – Michigan State 27:10
– Red Zone Scoring: Michigan State 11-of-12 (92%) – Opponents 25-of-32 (78%)