Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan on September 10, 1995 · Page 22
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Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan · Page 22

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Lansing, Michigan
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Sunday, September 10, 1995
Page:
Page 22
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(L Lansing State Journal Sunday, Sept. 10, 1995 Gamcday Spartan report card by Jack EfcHn Rushing E Passing B Rush defense E Pass defense C Special teams C- Coaching C- Spartan notebook by Kevin Gull and Chris Baldwin Muhammad sprains ankle covering Dim EAST LANSING The good news is Tony Banks found a new favorite target in the Michigan State passing attack. The bad news is that target, senior Muhsin Muhammad, twisted his left ankle covering a punt midway through the second quarter and never returned. Muhammad was one of four major contributors banged up in the Spartans' 50-10 season-opening loss to Nebraska Saturday at Spartan Stadium. "I twisted it a little bit, it's a Muhammad little sore right now, but it will be better for next week," said Muhammad, who caught four passes for 85 yards and the team's only touchdown. "I'll be ready to play next week." Sophomore linebacker Ike Reese and senior cornerback De-metrice Martin also suffered injuries in the second quarter. Martin sprained his left ankle and may have fractured a bone. "After the first half I pretty much threw the towel in because I didn't want to take any risk against injuring it any worse," Martin said. Reese broke a bone in his hand, but played the second half with a CclSt "I think he'll be OK," said MSU coach Nick Saban. "They put a cast on it and I'll think he'll be able to play at least his position. Senior receiver Napoleon Outlaw sprained his right shoulder when he was hit after a 17-yard gain on a slant pattern early in the third quarter. Devaney returns Former MSU assistant coach Bob Devaney returned to Spartan Stadium Saturday. Devaney, a four-year assist under Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty in the mid-1950s, later became better known as the coach who led Nebraska to two national titles and a 101-20-2 record from 1962-72. Devaney and his wife, Phyllis, watched the game from a skybox on the top floor of the press box. "It's good to be back," said Devaney, who hasn't been on campus since he received the Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award in February 1994. Waverly wonder Just two years ago, MSU senior t s f What rushing? MSU netted just 45 yards in 34 carries, ending one drive with a fumble at the Nebraska 32 and never gaining more than 9 yards until a meaningless 12-yarder on the second to last play of the game. Tony Banks was 21 for 35 for 290 yards and kept the Spartans' dream alive for 40 minutes. Without his effort and some gutsy grabs by 12 receivers, the score would've been much worse. The Cornhuskers ran for a whopping 552 yards, 89 more than any MSU opponent in history, and averaged 9.8 yards per carry. Their last three scores came on runs of 50, 57 and 80 yards. Nebraska completed seven of 1 4 tosses for 1 14 yards and no interceptions. And a beautiful 51 -yard completion to leaping split end Reggie Baul belongs in any high-. light reel. Derrick Mason's fumble on the opening kickoff gave the Cornhuskers three quick points. The best return was just 25 yards. And Chris Salani's 43.0-yard punting average included an 83-yarder and two touchbacks. The playcalling was noticeably better, though the fourth-and-1 punt from the Nebraska 46 was probably an error. If some defensive players stopped competing in the second half, should Banks have been in the game to take a furious fourth-quarter pounding. wideout Muhsin Muhammad, a Waverly High graduate, was in desperate need of a fresh start. Suspended from the team because of a concealed weapon charge, Muhammad found himself in a fourth-and-long situation. Saturday, granted a first-and-10 situation and a game start to go with the fresh start, Muhammad drew attention for his play. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder caught a career-high four passes for 83 yards and the Spartans' lone touchdown. Muhammad sprained his ankle diving backward to down a punt with 6:36 remaining in the second quarter. He did not return, although he is expected to play against Louisville on Saturday. "It was a disappointing day," Muhammad said. "I really can't take anything good from this. Just when it seemed like we would get in any kind of rhythm on offense another guy would go down or we'd commit another stupid penalty." Missing Goldie? With the Spartans struggling to eke out 45 rushing yards in 34 carries, some MSU players could not help but wonder if senior tailback Duane Goulbourne could have made a difference. Goulbourne, the Spartans' starting tailback, is out four to six weeks with a fractured fibula. Sophomore Marc Renaud, his replacement in the line-, up Saturday, rushed for 10 yards on seven carries. "Sure we missed Goldie," said senior fullback Scott Greene, who gained 34 yards on eight carries. "We have a lot of talented guys behind him, but they don't have his experience. "Goldie's a guy a lot of us on offense look up to. I know I look up to him. He's always calm, ready to take the handoff. "Stuff like that rubs off. But we have to figure out ways to do it without him." Rookies play True freshmen linebackers Courtney Ledyard and Dwayne Hawkins each played on the kick return team and extensively on defense late in the fourth quarter. Sophomores Ray Hill and Jer-maine Stafford each saw action after sitting out last season as Proposition 42 casualties. Stafford, a receiver, ran a few routes on the Spartans' last series, and Hill played on the kickoff team, punt team and some defensive series at cornerback, recording one solo tackle. "I was disappointed in the way we competed as a team in the second half. ... So to put it bluntly, I felt like our players quit." Nick Saban Michigan State coach f f J '! x r A Banks searches for receiver: Michigan State quarterback Tony Banks looks downfield as Flozell Adams blocks Jared Baunijks By Chris Baldwin Lansing State Journal EAST LANSING Tony Banks may be taking this staying in the pocket thing a little too literally. After putting on an air show seldom seen in Spartan Stadium since the days of disco and bell bottoms, Banks stood in for some more hits Saturday, these self-delivered. Banks threw for a career-high 290 yards, completed 21-of-35 passes and basically saved Michigan State from total embarassment in No. 2 Nebraska's 50-10 run-athon. He played well enough to give the Spartan fans in the sellout crowd of 73,891 reason to hope. He played well enough to draw his coach's praise. He even played well enough to throw a scare, even if it was a mosquito-like scare, into the Cornhuskers. But Banks did not come close to playing well enough for himself. And that may very well be the best sign for hopeful Spartan fans. "He must have been grabbing at U Spartans yield record amounts of rushing, total yards in defeat By Kevin Bull Lansing State Journal EAST LANSING The defense took another beating. And it wasn't pretty, either. Michigan State gave up school records of 552 rushing yards and 666 total yards in a 50-10 season-opening defeat to Nebraska Saturday at Spartan Stadium. This coming just 10 months after Penn State set the previous record of 653 yards of total of fense in a 59-31 defeat last season in George Perles' final game. . A different Spartan team. A different Spartan coach. Yet the same result a sloppy defense that surrendered too many big plays and had too many missed tackles. "We need to improve that part of our defense," MSU coach Nick Saban said. "Because if you don't give up big plays then you have a chance to be hard to score against" Granted, Penn State and Nebraska have two of the country's most prolific offenses. And neither has lost a game in more than a year. But if Michigan State (0-1) wants to become a. Big Ten contender, it has to play better defense. The Spartans have to stop giving up big plays. All six of Nebraska's touchdown drives went more than 40 yards in five or fewer plays. And the last three TDs came on runs of 50 or more yards. "I personally think a lot of guys didn't put out as much as we could have, and that's including myself," said MSU middle linebacker Reggie Garnett "When you give up MS '1 . . : A A (ft ".'-r - 5 to 3 -,. x j bsorte lmiiiaislhmeHiiit straws," Banks said when told Coach Nick Saban singled out his play. "I'm in charge of the offense, and we couldn't put any points on the board. "Ten points? What's 10 points? I don't think you could ever be satisfied on offense if you score 10 points." His hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans, Banks shifted from side to side and waited for the next question. He was in a corner, surrounded by TV cameras and notepads, but this is someone used to being surrounded. Someone who took every hit Nebraska delivered and kept popping back up like the Energizer Bunny. Someone who would have loved to take the hit for this loss. "That's Tony," said senior wideout Muhsin Muhammad, Banks' roommate. "He could throw for 500 yards and if we lost he'd still be talking about every little mistake he made. "And believe me, he thinks of everything, ril tell you what, though. We've got a quarterback. Anybody defense v. " f : v Mr -,--: . . ... v'v 'V'i'.- MARGIE GARRISONLansing State Journal Martin makes the hit: Defensive back Demetrice Martin tackles Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier. Frazier had to leave the game with a deep thigh bruise in the second quarter. ' that many points, obviously from a team sense, we didn't give as much as we could have." The good news is the Corn-husker offense likely is the best MSU will see this year. And the Spartans held their own early in the first quarter. "I don't think you can be satisfied on offense anytime you score 10 points. My job is to get us in the end zone. I didn't do my job today." Tony Banks Michigan State quarterback til is, X.. Tomich Saturday. Banks completed 21 of 35 passes for 290 : yards, one touchdown and one interception. could see that out there today." What almost everyone but Banks saw was a confident leader who already seems to have Gary Tran-quill's new offensive system down. The shaken junior college quarterback who was firing duds like a cheap cap gun only a year ago1 against Kansas is nothing more than a distant mirage. The laid-back Californian now feels comfortable in Michigan. "Last year with all the senior linemen the impression was all we needed was a guy to come in and hand the ball off for us to go to the Rose Bowl," Banks said, laughing. "I'm the type who likes to throw the ball. Sometimes I'm a little flashy. "We kind of butted heads at first. This year I feel at home." On Saturday, it showed. Often throwing out of the shotgun, Banks completed passes to eight different players. He threw long. He was almost perfect on medium slant routes across the middle. He hit backs out of the backfield for big gains. leit inn tetter After Derrick Mason fumbled the opening kickoff and gave Nebraska first-and-10 at the Spartan 34-yard line, the MSU defense held the Cornhuskers to a field goal. And the defense forced a fumble and punt on two of Nebraska's next three possessions. Mini i!' . ' - . , A '? - " W - ' " ' - .. tJ ,. -i : .1 ROD SANFORDLansina State Journal On the Spartans' lone touchdown drive, Banks hit Muhammad in stride for a 25-yard gain as he was getting hit. Three plays later, he waited and waited for Muhammad to get open on a crossing pattern in the end zone. Patience equals seven points. And he did it all with MSU's running game missing in action. The Spartans rushed for 45 yards on 34-carries. "Tony was our offense," said senior left tackle Bob Denton. "We put him in some unbelievable pressure situations because of our own mistakes, but he responded." - Not that the 6-foot-5, 217-pound lifeline to MSU's season would: have it any other way. "I like as much pressure as any-. one wants to put on me," Banks said. "If someone doesn't put the pressure on me, I'm going to put it . on myself. "If that's what we want to do,. . pass on every down, I'm all for it." Seeing a rare opening, Banks headed for the locker room, still in the pocket "In the first half we had some good things happen," Garnett said. "When they got in close, tightened ' the defense up and forced them to kick field goals." Still it was not enough. Nebraska found the end zone on two straight possessions in the second quarter v and nearly added a third score in the final seconds. The second half was a nightmare for the MSU defense. The Cornhuskers scored a field goal and three touchdowns on their first four possessions. This coming -even with starting quarterback Tommie Frazier out with a bruised left thigh. "Nebraska just kept coming at us," said Spartan cornerback Demetrice Martin, who played the third quarter with a sprained left . ankle. "It was everything we prac-; ticed against, we just had a lot of mental errors. We were prepared for the game, they just overpow-. ered us." Power in the form of a Nebraska . offensive line that averages 297 pounds. A line that wore out a Spartan defensive line lacking ; depth and experience. "I think they were bigger than , us, especially their offense versus -our defense," Saban said. "I think we got wore down because we don't have a lot of depth. That probably affected how we played -late in the game." Nebraska's Heisman Trophy can-' didate Lawrence Phillips carried 22 . times for four scores and 206 yards, And James Sims did his best im- r pression of Billy Sims, sprinting 80 yards down the sideline on his only carry for the second-longest rushing TD ever by an MSU opponent " "I'm definitely embarrassed we' lost the game," Garnett said. "You should be embarrassed when you 1 lose any game regardless of what is exnected and who's the underdog." V

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