Thursday, August 13, 2020

Michigan State aiming for strong finish to inconsistent season

November 16, 2018
Sophomore wide receiver Cody White (7) is tackled during the game against Ohio State at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 10, 2018. The Spartans fell to the Buckeyes, 26-6.
Sophomore wide receiver Cody White (7) is tackled during the game against Ohio State at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 10, 2018. The Spartans fell to the Buckeyes, 26-6. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

In the last four seasons, Michigan State’s offense has continued to fall down the national rankings, as the final games of the season approach. Back in 2015, the offense ranked No. 73 in the nation and currently, the Spartans sit at No. 110.

Coach Mark Dantonio said last year’s offense was filled with more production in the quarterback and wide receiver positions due to the players staying healthy, compared to the current squad being riddled with injuries since the beginning of the season. 

“It's always something. Every year you're going to deal with something,” Dantonio said. “A lot of things are predicated in how your quarterback plays, that's college football. That's pro football. That's high school football. If your quarterback is playing well, you're going to be successful, usually.”

So far, the team has lost sophomore offensive lineman Matt Allen, senior wide receiver Felton Davis III and senior running back LJ Scott to name a few players who have yet or won’t return to the field. 

Sophomore running back Cody White has been one of the many players on offense who suffered from an injury. During the Central Michigan game back on Sept. 29, White broke his right hand and did not play until the Maryland game on Nov. 3. White said it was hard to watch the offense struggle as he stood on the sidelines.

“It was kind of hard for me with that being my first big injury in football,” White said. “I was trying to keep everyone motivated and just moving forward. Just trying to keep them going.” 

Senior tight end Matt Sokol feels that everyone involved on the offensive side is stepping up in their part in order to help them become more successful once again.  

“This is a process and a game of inches,” Sokol said. “Everyone has to come together and do their part. I know everyone in this building is doing everything that they can to make this offense as successful as possible. All the coaches up stairs and all the guys up front are trying to do their job to the best of their ability.” 

Besides the injuries, the Spartan offense has also struggled to protect the quarterback and run the ball. This season the rushing attack has rushed for an average of 118.4 yards per game this season, ranking No. 116 in the nation.

For Dantonio, he wants tells his players the same thing before every matchup in regards to their goal to run the ball better. 

“It's not our intent,” Dantonio said. “We want to run the football, we need to run the football. I say that over and over every week, and that's what we have to do."

As for the mindset of this team, White feels he and the rest of this teammates see this weekend against Nebraska as a week to prove most critics wrong. Not only did the Spartans lose to No. 10 Ohio State, but they also dropped out of the College Football Rankings.

“This week for us it’s just mostly a bounce-back week,” White said. “Knowing that we can’t turn the ball over, knowing we have to play better and that’s really the main thing for us.” 

After they play Nebraska, the Spartans will finish the season off with a home game against Rutgers, and Dantonio wants his players to stay focused during these last two weeks.

“So we're dealing with it,” Dantonio said. “But the most important thing to me is that our football team remains intact from a chemistry standpoint, which it will, and we will bring great energy to the game on Saturday against Nebraska and we go there close.”

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