Sunday, July 12, 2020

Gridders suffering injuries, focused on win over rivals

October 17, 2000
Junior wide reciever Herb Haygood (2) tries to run past Wisconsin junior linebacker Bryson Thompson (32) during the game in Spartan Stadium on Saturday. Wisconsin beat MSU 17-10. —

Two days after MSU’s third consecutive loss, (3-3 overall, 0-3 in the Big Ten), Spartan head coach Bobby Williams said it’s time to focus on beating Michigan. The Wolverines (4-2, 2-1) are coming off a 58-0 drubbing of Indiana last week.

Although junior punt returner Shawn Foster had problems fielding punts against Wisconsin, Williams said he plans to continue using the Lansing native to return punts. But junior Cedric Henry and freshmen Tyrell Dortch and Ziehl Kavanaght will continue to work on punt returns during weekly practices.

Aye, aye, Captain

Williams said only team captains Renaldo Hill, Shaun Mason and Josh Thornhill will be permitted to talk with media members this week.

“I just think this is in the best interest of the program,” Williams said of the policy.

Practices are also closed to the media this week.

All banged up

Injury problems have hampered the Spartans’ progress all season. Senior linebacker Drew Young only saw action in one play against Wisconsin because of an injury to his neck. Williams said Young is probable to play Saturday.

Senior offensive lineman Mason suffered a knee injury against Wisconsin, but is also expected to play against Michigan. Sophomore sensation running back T.J. Duckett is still bothered by a hip pointer, but also plans to be in the lineup Saturday.

Oh, so close

Still reeling from the tough loss to Wisconsin last Saturday, Williams said the Spartans were once again painfully close to victory.

“We’re three plays away from being 5-1 right now,” Williams said. “Then all you guys would think we’re the greatest team since sliced toast.”

Stats not equaling wins

Despite being 0-3 in Big Ten play, the Spartans rank first in the conference in total defense. Through six games MSU is giving up an average of 297 yards per game. Minnesota ranks second defensively, giving up 306 yards a game, while Michigan is sixth with 339 yards per contest.

The Spartans rank seventh in the league in total offense, averaging 380 yards a game. Michigan is second with 458 yards per game.

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