Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan on October 30, 2011 · Page 33
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Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan · Page 33

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Lansing, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Page:
Page 33
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Lansing State Journal - n n n - SUNDAY OCTOBER 30, 2011 . JSO f . s. & S0 V- 1 Nebraska 24 Michigan State 3 RECAP KEY PLAY The Spartans thought they had a game-changing turnover when Rex Burk-head coughed up the ball at the goal line and Kyler Elsworth recovered it But a replay review not only overturned the fumble, it determined that Burkhead got into the end zone on the play. It was the right call and it made the score 17-3 Nebraska with 9:32 left in the third quarter capping an 80-yard drive to start the second half. UNSUNG HERO The aforementioned Elsworth was forced into action when starting Star linebacker Chris Norman could not go because of a shoulder injury - and then his backup, Steve Gardiner, went down with a first-quarter injury. Elsworth was solid in a difficult spot for the Spartans, collecting 10 tackles and forcing a fumble. "QUOTABLE "Thi program is not a stranger to adversity. We'll handle it" - ' , ' MSU coach Mark Dantonio " "It just wasnt there for us today." MSU receiver Keshawn Martin WHAT'S NEXT The Spartans finally get a break of sorts after four tough games in a row v'v' J or is it a break? The Min- . ;. nesota Golden Gophers will visit Spartan Stadium for a noon game Saturday on the Big Ten Network, fresh off a stunning 22-21 home upset of Iowa. Minnesota is 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten after the victory. MSU then travels to Iowa on Nov. 12. Joe Rexrode Read Joe's final thoughts about Saturday's game. NOTABLE SCORES Baylor 24 (3) Oklahoma State 59 (8) Arkansas 31 Vanderbilt 28 (11) Oklahoma 58 (10) Kansas State 17 Missouri (OT)38 (16) Texas A&M 31 (22) Georgia 24 Florida 20 Illinois 7 (21) Penn State 10 Navy - 14 Notre Dame 56 3 bPORTSi 7 -PJTO?" Michigan running back Fitzgerald loussaint (22) scores a touchdown in the third quarter Saturday. Ibussaintran for a career-high 170yanarKitvvotcichdowns. Nebraska quarterback Taylor MSU's road tougher after Cornhuskers' convincing win JoeRexrod jrexrode0lsj.com LINCOLN, Neb. One month ago, anyone affiliated with Michigan State football likely would have jumped at the chance to be where the Spartans are today tied for first place in the Legends Division after three wins in four formida-. ble October games. : ' r But after the fourth game, Saturday's decisive 24-3 loss at Nebraska, Mark Dantonio wasn't indulging that line of thinking. 1 .: "Well, it's tough to take it right now," Dantonio said when asked if he would have taken three out of four be- fore the Ohio State-Michigan-Wisconsin-Nebraska stretch began. "You want to be excellent, you want to point to excellence. I'm not even gonna answer that, that wouldn't be fair to our football team. We work for excellence, we strive for excellence." They didn't reach it in front of 85,641 fans at Memorial Stadium, and now they're no longer in control of their quest to win the Big Ten Legends Division and play in iiie first Big Ten football title game. No. 9 MSU (6-2 overall 3-1 Big Ten) falls into a first-place tie with No. 13 Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) which will win the division and play the winner of the Leaders Division on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis if it wins its final four games. "I mean, we've just got to continue to push forward," MSU senior safety Trenton Robinson said, "and hope Nebraska loses anoth- Lansing State Journal TONY DWGASSOCIATED PRESS .V Martinez (3) stiff-arms Michigan Nebraska's Gante Evans (bottom) and Daimion Stafford break up a pass intended for MSU's BJ. Cunningham. er game." Nebraska finishes home vs. Northwestern, at Penn State, at Michigan and home vs. Iowa MSU finishes home vs. Minnesota, at Iowa, See MSU, Page 2D P P1PPP4 tofsA PBVf"lr' U-M looks lilte W MicMgan in' blowout Running game, defense too good for Purdue, 36-14 Scott Voshonis - .1 ; - syoshonis0tsjxofn ANN ARBOR - Michigan had a throwback game, giving the ball to running back Fitzgerald loussaint 20 times and shutting down Purdue on defense. I ' Ibussaint ran for a ca-reerii 170 yards and two tmKJhdowns to lead the 17th- State safety Trenton Robinson DOM 5ft i- i v- i DAVE WEAVERASSOCIATED PRESS i INSIDE ; Flag day: Spartans' trou- ! bles with penalties return in j ugly, Page 2D ! Grades are in: Rexrode ; rates the Spartans, Page 2D I Other games: Around : the nation. Pages 10-11D r ranked Wolverines in a 36-14 win over the Boilermakers on Saturday. Michigan gave upaTD on toe open- mg drive of the game, then scored 36 straight points thanks to a dominant defensive iriSIDE V SOOfMhTS week after first loss, Oklahoma rolls over Kansas State, ' 1 Page ICO line and a relentless running game. "Playing defense and then nmnlag the football to gain some extra yardage on Unsightly offense must fix road woes Title hopes a lost cause if it doesn't improve LINCOLN,Neb. If it wasn't clear already, it probably became clear right around the time Kirk Cousins -f aked a handof f to a running back who wasn't there (sources could neither confirm nor deny the play is called "Casper" in a nod to Halloween weekend), then had to throw the ball to folks in red shirts and jeans well off the field of play. ; This Michigan State offense had no chance Saturday in a 24-3 loss at Nebraska. It has been right in the neighborhood of dreadful in three road games this season a total of 26 points in those games, .with an average of 289 yards per game. ' And its apparition-like quality away from home may be the thing that keeps the Spartans from a second straight Big Ten championship. They won't make the all-new title game unless the Cornhuskers lose again. Also clear after Saturday's loss: This offense is a source of frustration for everyone in green right now. and being able to knock people off the line of scrimmage that, in my mind, is what Michigan football is," coach Brady Hoke said. The Wolverines (7-1, 3-1 Big len) bounced back from their first toss of the season, two weeks ago at Michigan State, and moved into a first-place tie with die Spartans and Nebraska in the conference's Legends Division. "They responded a bit," Hoke acknowledged. Purdue (44, 2-2) hasnt See KSQSSASi, Pes 1CO . . DAVE WEAVERASSOCIATED PRESS Saturday. H -j-V- Joe Rexrode jrexrodeOlsj.com 377-1026 - "I mean I dont really ; have any comments on (the offense), I dont know . what their game plan is really over there," MSU S senior safety Trenton Robinson said. "You know, just, we've got to execute. At the end of the day we've got to execute and make ' plays. And if we dont, then we dont score. And if we j dont stop them from scoring, we cant win games." : The fact that this has gone six paragraphs : ' without a mention of Nebraska's defense is unjustifiable (sort of like MSU's offensive performance). The Cornhuskers were fast and physical Saturday, all over MSU's receivers downfield and " defending the way they were supposed to defend all season. ; : This is a good defense. But it still seemed like - . MSU did not give that de- ' fense its best shot. Kirk Cousins was not sharp Saturday. His numbers (11 of 27, 86 yards, one interception) speak See REXRODE, Page 3D .jj tail'.- t-l- cnv

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