It was the biggest play of DeAnthony Arnett’s young MSU career.
The sophomore receiver’s 48-yard reception was a careerlong and set up an MSU touchdown on the Spartans’ opening drive of the second half against Central Michigan, but after the game Arnett hardly was thrilled.
After playing less than a handful of plays in the Spartans’ season-opening victory against then-No. 24 Boise State, MSU receivers coach Terrence Samuel said Arnett likely would see an increase in playing time on Saturday.
Yet aside from his big catch, Arnett’s role in the No. 10 MSU football team’s (2-0) 41-7 victory over CMU (1-1) was limited to running two reverses, one of which was nullified by a penalty.
The result was an irritated Arnett, who voiced his displeasure with his minimal opportunities in the season’s opening weeks.
“I’m not used to sitting on the bench … but all I can do is try to help those guys,” he said. “It’s been real frustrating, knowing that I know the offense, I know everything, (and) I should be playing.”
Arnett, a native of Saginaw, Mich., played for Tennessee during his freshman season, but transferred to MSU this year to be close to his ailing father, who suffers from a number of medical ailments, including kidney failure.
One of Arnett’s biggest complaints was the assertion by some that he’s struggling to learn MSU’s offense.
“That’s been the word, that I still don’t know the offense, that I’m still trying to figure out the verbiage,” Arnett said. “When you say somebody doesn’t know the offense, that’s just too broad. You can’t say, ‘Oh he doesn’t know the offense.’ I mean, I know the offense.”
Despite Arnett’s concerns, head coach Mark Dantonio said the receiving corps played well as a unit, and signaled out Arnett’s catch as a “huge” play.
“We’ve said all along we have great depth, top to bottom and I think you saw that out there today, saw some guys making plays,” Dantonio said. “But with that being said, you don’t really know who’s going to be the guy this early in the season. … As we get into our 10th game, eighth game, ninth game, we need to have answers.”
Meanwhile Arnett said he’ll continue practicing hard, cheering on his teammates and hoping for his chance to make a difference.
“I’m just waiting,” he said. “We’re all still learning, so all I can do is just try to continue to clap on, and when I get in, when I get my turn, just do what I do and make plays.”