Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan on October 30, 2011 · Page 34
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Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan · Page 34

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Lansing, Michigan
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Sunday, October 30, 2011
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Page 34
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Green & White 2D Sunday, October 30, 2011 Lansing State Journal www.lsj.com B,jo.Rr.d. I SPARTANS: ON A SCALE OF 1-10 ... I : , m rip yV-1 1 CNV :---Nr ..irHj DAVE WEAVE ASSOCIATED PRESS MSltfs Will Ghobton (right) sacks Nebraska "fcjIoelSar- tinez fcr one of his careVhigh 15 taddes on Saftuntay.-; g JMRoxrDcta, . - x 1 ' jrexrodeetsjicom . 1 1 IS AHA Dennard LINCOLN, Neb. Everyone made such a big deal out of Michigan State's 13 penalties including six personal -fouls against Michigan on Oct 15. So the Spartans responded by committing zero penalties the next week . against Wisconsin. Everyone made a big deal out of that too. On Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the see-saw was in full effect MSU -was hit with nine penalties for 90 yards in a 24-3 loss . to Nebraska, and several of those penalties aided the Comhuskers on third-quarter touchdown drives that put ' the game away. 4 . "Yeah, its disappointing," MSU coach Mark Dantonio said. "Especially disappoint-: ing when you have unforced ones. Offsides penalties. Although they're hard counting you and trying to get you to jump, thafs part of the game, too. I think we had four of those. Four or five. Too many." On the first drive of the third quartet MSU stuffed Nebraska's Taylor Martinez for a loss of three, but MSU sophomore comer- - back Darqueze Dennard picked up a 15-yard penalty for a . personal foul. . - .. That got the Huskers near midfield and helped set up .', a touchdown to go up 17-3. The next time they got the ball, Jerei Worthy jumped offsides to give Nebraska a first down on a third-and-3. y MSU later jumped again and Dennard picked up a pass interference penalty on the drive, which ended with a 24-3 Nebraska lead. ..':; . "its frustrating but you cant really do anything i about it you've got to keep playing," MSU sophomore defensive end Marcus Rush said of the penalties. So why did penalties resurface with such frequency after the performance against Wisconsin? "Thafs a tough question," MSU sophomore linebacker Kyter Elsworth said. "I mean, last week we really responded to people saying we were dirty players, we V, really wanted to show people thafs not who we were. ... This week there was a couple penalties. Nothing too big, nothing too drastic, but penalties hurt you." - Nebraska ended up 7 of 15 on third-down conversions. It got 18 first downs eight rushing, five passing and five courtesy of MSU penalties. ; 4 ' ryvhafs deflating is when you put yourself in a situation where you're gonna get off the field and there's a penalty" Dantonio said. Thafs deflating. They're gonna make some plays, but you've got to get off the f ield on third down. Thafs the name of the game." INJURIES GALORE: MSU has avoided injuries lately after losing starters Skyler Burkland, Tyler Hoover and Blake Treadwell to season-ending Injuries in September but the month erf October ended with a rash of ailments. : . MSU junior linebacker Chris Norman did not play because of a sprained shoul- - der. Steve Gardiner started in his place at the Star position but went down in the first quarter with an upper-body injury. He was replaced there by Elsworth, ' and on third-and-long situations by TyQuan Hammock. ' Meanwhile, junior running back Larry Caper was hurt on the opening kidcoff and did not return. Caper was checked for a concussion on the sideline. . , - Several other MSU players left with injuries and returned, and center Travis Jackson suffered what appeared to be a painful leg injury in the fourth quarter. He did not return to the game. - "We had a tot of guys go down," Dantonio said. "We'll find out it didn't seem like they were long term based on the locker room right now." : Dantonio said Norman should be back for next week's game against Minnesota. MAKING A NAME: Elsworth earned plenty of attention for last week's punt block against Wisconsin and on Saturday he picked up 10 tackles in relief of Norman and Gardiner. The walk-on from Goodrich took second-team practice reps on Wednesday and Thursday with Norman out but said it was still a bit "overwhelming" to be on the field in such a big game and know he'd play the rest of the game. : "Its great to get all the tackles," he said, "but tackles dont really mean much if you dont win the game." STRONG WILL: MSU sophomore defensive end Will Ghobton was suspended for last week's game against Wisconsin because of a punch he landed on U-M lineman Taylor Lewan in the Spartans' 28-14 victory on Oct 15. Ghobton was back in the starting lineup Saturday and showed what the Spartans were missing. He finished with a career-high 1 5 taddes, two for loss with a sack. Ghobton and Rush, MSU athletic pair of bookends, had 26 tackles between them in the game. "Wow, thafs a tot" Ghobton said afterward. "I just feel like we executed the game plan pretty well and we knew what they were gonna do." CCrS3 BAC3: Nebraska junior Rex Burkhead continues to make a case for All-Big Ten first team honors. Burkhead ran it 35 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns and also scored Nebraska's third touchdown on a .. 27-yard reception. . "He a really good running back, he plays hard," Rush said of Burkhead, who now has ZZ2 rushing yards and 12 ' rushing touchdowns this season. "I like the way he plays a lot You've got to stop a guy like that from moving his ; feet, take his feet out" Edwin Baker was AMSg Ten for MSU a year ago, but on Saturday he was MSU's No. 2 back, with LeVeon BeH getting the start. Bell ran the ball 12 times for 58 yards and Baker hadj ' 10 carries for 33 yards. " Norman i Z O to 5 5 ' esse in a word, dismal. The first haff was one of the worst offensive displays in recent MSU memory and the thing is, the offensive line did a good job. The Spartans were getting push on running plays and giving Kirk Cousins all day to MSU plays without Chris Norman, then . loses Steve Gardiner, and just keeps playing tough defense with walk-on Kyler Elsworth in the game. The Spartans had a goal-line stand, gave up 101 total yards none through the air in the first half and : Mike Sadler 23-yard shank in the first quarter gave Nebraska a short field, an early mistake that resulted in a field goal. - Meanwhile, Nick Hill finally broke a big return, but the offense couldnt capitalize on K (yes, we're managing to rip on the offense Early on, with MSU injuries piling, a Cous-; ins interception leading to a Nebraska touch- down and a roaring crowd, it looked like the 4 Spartans mignt be set up tor one of those ugly road losses. Then the defense asserted itself and MSU One thing that did not disappoint Saturday was the view of a Nebraska football Saturday. The downtown setting, the shock- ; ingly manageable traffic, the stadium with its unique dimensions, the red-draped fans that manage to be noisy yet polite (take note. throw, but MSU couldnt get receivers open -or Cousins wasn't finding them. ' . . The second half was no better. The Spartans couldnt figure a way to get anything going against a team it was able to block. Then the blocking faltered. gave the offense a short field with a Johnny Adams interception. Yet MSU trailed at half-time. Costly penalties and some bad coverage killed the Spartans in the second half, and they looked exhausted at times. Still, this was not the problem. - I ! I u W J in every category). ' fpz?r Kevin Muma had a strong day kicking off. fe 4 uan tonroy was i or t on xne oay ana MSU s -; had no major issues. It just needed to make more plays, i You know, to help the offense. " had opportunity after opportunity to gain control of the game. Nebraska deserves a lot of credit for not letting that happen but MSU's second-half penalties and miscues cant be credited to the Huskers. Some of them were simply inexcusable. Wisconsin fans). - In terms of game-day experience, Lincoln is a home run of an addition to the Big Ten. When you take all factors into account it says here that Nebraska and Ohio State are neck and neck in a clear top: i.;. ,'.--. Jk " , . jf. - X V: A fit - i i - ' " - ' ' ' ' - ' . - ' I 1 M I i UM-f-rt m i r. 3X ft 7t : r ,vXi a . .... , , w- -Nkas DAVE WEAVERASSOCIATED PRESS Michigan State Johnny Adams (right) intercepts a pass intended for Nebraska Kenny Bell in the first haff Saturday. MSU Continued From 1D home vs. Indiana and at Northwestern. Michigan also is tied for first place in the division with a 3-1 Big Ten record. Iowa's hopes took a major hit with a 22-21 upset loss Saturday at Minnesota, which is showing signs of life six days from its visit to Spartan Stadium. The Spartans had very little life in producing 187 total yards and three points their lowest yardage output of the season and lowest point total since a 17-3 loss to Nebraska in the 2003 Alamo BowL Bo Pelini was Nebraska's interim coach in that game and was later a finalist for the MSU job that Mark Dantonio got in November of 2006. On Saturday, Pelini, the Comhuskers' fourth-year head coach, elicited the kind of dominating defensive effort his team was supposed to be producing regularly this season. "They shut down some things we do weU," Dantonio said of an MSU offense that got 101 rushing yards but just 11-of -27 passing and a career-low 86 yards from quarterback Kirk Cousins. ' Cousins threw an interception on the third play of the game on a pass intended for B J. Cunningham, whose streak of 41 regular-season games with a catch tied for fourth-longest nationally among active players ended against Nebraska. Cousins said he tried to force some passes into coverage to get pass-interference calls. He had ample protection in the first half, but the Huskers got to him in the second half and finished with four sacks. ' "It was a combination of everything," Cousins said. "There were plays where there was nothing there, no matter how long the protection lasted. There were plays where protection broke down where I had something. There were plays where it was a combi- - I Z. DAVE WEAVERASSOCIATED PRESS Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead pulls away from MSU defensive tackle Jerel Worthy on Saturday. Burkead finished with 130 yards on 35 carries. nation. It was a total mix." MSU's defense once again had to keep the Spartans in a game, and it did so, giving up just 270 total yards. MSU got a goal-line stand, a Johnny Adams pick and allowed zero passing yards in the first half yet the Spartans trailed 10-3 at the half. "It's football, so sometimes that happens and we've just got to continue to push forward as a defense," Robinson said. "We've just got to keep going. We can only control the defensive side of the ball, so we just want to try to push forward and eliminate touchdowns." - Nebraska put the game away with touchdown drives of 80 and 89 yards in the third quarter. Both were aided by costly MSU penalties: and sparked by powerful Nebraska running back ' Rex Burkhead. Burkhead ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 27-yard touchdown on a "wheel" route to make it 24-3 with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. "You could tell they were getting a little winded," Burkhead said of MSU's defenders, though no Spartan shared that assessment "I dont believe our defense got tired," said sophomore Will Gholston, who returned to the starting lineup withacareer-high 15 tackles and a sack after he was suspended for last week's win over Wisconsin. "I dont believe our defense gave up." The Spartans dont believe they'll have trouble recovering from the disappointment, either. Their 3-1 October has allowed for a title chase in November. "This is about the long haul, this isnt ' about one football game,", Dantonio said. "All of our goals stay in front of us." If s just that Nebraska must lose to someone else for those goals to be possible. NEBRASKA 24, MSU 3 McMfMSL 0 3 0 0-3 Nrtmka 10 0 14 0-24 First qaartw Neb-BurUiead 1 run (Mahcr kick), 9:12. Neb-FGMaher20.121. MSU-fG Conroy 28, 1:38. IftMfMrtw Neb-Buiknead 1 run (Maher kick), 9:32. Neb-Butkhead 27 pass from Martinez (Maher kick), 20. A-85,641. . MSU Neb Rist downs -12 18 Rushes-yards 30-101 58-190 Passing 86 80 Comp-Att-Int 11-27-1 7-13-1 Return Yards 56 22 Punts-Avg. 5-36.4 4-43.3 FumWes-lost 0-0 3-0. Penalties-Yards 9-90 9-58 Time of Possession 28:35 31:25 . Unlit Michigan St, Bell 12-58. Baker 10- 38. Martin 2-5. ' - -Cousins 6-0. Nebraska. Burkhead 35-130, Matlowa 1-39, Martinez 12-23, Aa.Graen 4-8, K.BeH 1-4, Legate 1-0, Heard Hminus 7), Team 3-(minus 7). ; Niiktg Michigan St, Cousins 11- 27-1-86. Nebraska, Martinez 7-13-1-80. NeaMug Michigan St, Martin 5-58, Bell 3-12, Linthicum 2-16, Anderson 1-0. Nebraska, Knnie 2-23, BCotton 2-5, Burkhead 1-27, K.BeK 1-19. Marlowe 1-6.

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