And just like that, the season is over. What a season it was!
- 11 wins, the most ever for MSU
- A Big Ten Championship, the first since 1990
- #8 BCS / #7 AP and USA Today ranking after the regular season
- Beat Michigan for the third year running which MSU hasn’t done since ’65-’66-’67
- Beat Penn State in Happy Valley for the first time since ’65
- Beat Notre Dame on an amazing OT fake field goal
- Beat Wisconsin handily, their only loss on the year
- Became a team that finishes strong with big come-from-behind wins against Northwestern and Purdue
Just look at the record:
A great year for a great Spartan team.
Regarding last week’s game against the Penn State Nittany Lions, nobody seemed to know what to think about this one. MSU had the better record, and on paper, the better team. But Penn State dominated the series as of late, and simply do not lose at home. The last time the Spartans won at Penn State, JoePa was an assistant coach!
For the first three quarters, the Spartans ran the show. It wasn’t a runaway game or anything, but MSU methodically moved the ball on offense, minimized it’s mistakes and played solid defense. At the end of the third quarter, it was 21-3 MSU. The Lions made it interesting in the fourth quarter putting up 19 points, but MSU didn’t fade and finished 28-22 for the win.
Kirk Cousins played injured with an ankle and shoulder sprain, and apparently in a lot of pain. He played through it and had a good day to boot. Cousins was 17-22 in the air for 152 yards and two TDs. Keith Nichol stepped in for a 3-yard pass for the third passing TD. MSU receivers where hot with Lithicum and Gantt pulling in four catches, Cunningham had three and Caper, Fowler and Bell had two each.
Edwin Baker has proved to be THE running back for 2010. Against Penn State he had 128 yards on the ground and a TD. Keshawn Martin only ran the ball twice, but what an exciting runner he is picking up over 40 yards on his two carries.
The Spartan defense was in full effect Saturday holding the Lions to a field goal for 3/4 of the game. Greg Jones, Eric Gordon, Johnny Adams, Jerel Worthy, etc. all played great and got the job done. Penn State gained momentum late in the game, but the Spartans made the crucial stops when it counted. And what a huge improvement over 2009!
The catastrophe known as the Land Grant Trophy will live in East Lansing for a while, and it’s been a while. And the good news is we’ll see Joe Paterno at Big Ten games for another season. Way to go Joe with 400+ victories. Amazing.
After the regular season, the Spartans are a top-ten team:
What’s next? Let’s go bowling. MSU is lobbying consideration for a BCS bowl, but I don’t think that will happen. Not that I don’t want it, but Wisconsin will go to the Rose Bowl and Ohio State will get the BCS bowl. I was longing for the Rose Bowl, and after that, I’m not quite so concerned. We’ll know the score come this weekend.
As for Michigan, they lost. Ohio State schooled Michigan 37-7. For once in my entire life, I would have liked to see the Wolverines win. But no. Michigan ends up 7-5 and is bowl elegible for the first time under RichRod. The man should go simply because he can’t seem to win against any real teams. And, don’t forget, he has yet to beat Ohio State or Michigan State. The M Go Blue fanatics are likely getting very tired of having to be humble. Fire him now when it makes sense instead of waiting until after the bowl games. Whatever, I’m fine with Michigan being bad. RichRod Forever!
Notre Dame also finished 7-5, but they had to win against USC to do it. Coach Kelly’s fighting Irish will go bowling this year, which is good news after a shaking first season. I’ve got confidence that the Irish will be much improved in 2011, but it’s a long road back to greatness.
I’ll check back in this weekend with a bowl update and season end stats. Rest up Spartans, we’ve got a game New Years day to get ready for.