Saturday, May 30, 2020

MSU's loss to Arizona State highlights not only the bad, but also some good

September 15, 2019
<p>Redshirt freshman Elijah Collins (24) celebrates a touchdown during the game against Arizona State on Sept. 14, 2019 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Sun Devils, 10-7.</p>

Redshirt freshman Elijah Collins (24) celebrates a touchdown during the game against Arizona State on Sept. 14, 2019 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Sun Devils, 10-7.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

No. 18 Michigan State fell to Arizona State 10-7 after “too many missed opportunities,” as Head Coach Mark Dantonio put it. Despite the upsetting outcome for the Spartans, there are still some positives that seeped out.

Although it’s difficult looking past the three missed field-goals, the 10 penalties for 91 yards, and the lack of finishing offensively, there are three positive things to note about the Spartans’ play:

Elijah Collins scored his first MSU touchdown

Redshirt freshman Elijah Collins sealed his first Spartan touchdown Saturday night. After a quick pass from quarterback Brian Lewerke over halfway through the fourth quarter, Collins was able to rush nine yards into the endzone for the first and only Spartan touchdown of the night.

“We had a good run-look,” Lewerke said. “We got a good chunk of yards. Then obviously Elijah (Collins) made a great play to get a touchdown. I wish we could’ve done that a little more.”

Collins caught the eye of many after his performance against Western Michigan last Saturday as he earned 192 rushing yards. However, against the Sun Devils, Collins was only able to rush 72 yards total, as he was swapped in and out with Connor Heyward throughout the game. 

Over 400 total offensive yards

Lewerke completed 24 of 38 pass attempts while Sun Devil quarterback Jayden Daniels completed 15 passes of his 26 attempts. Although the penalties diminished every sort of offensive momentum gained, the 404 total offensive yards are a sign that MSU's offense can produce, just not when each drive is pushed back because of a penality.

"Some things we can control, some things we can't control," Dantonio said. "Too many missed opportunities when you look at it."

Defense still solid

Michigan State's defense continues to contain offensively active teams like Arizona State. Holding them to just 10 points and keepings them under 200 yards, this was the first time the Sun Devils didn't score more than ten points in a game since 2009.

"I wouldn't say it's frustrating," David Dowell, MSU safety said. "I would just say that for us it's all about the things we can control on defense and as a team. We all lost this game as a team. It wasn't just any side of the ball."

Senior captain Joe Bachie, leading the defense with 12 tackles, has been through this before.

"Obviously frustrated," Bachie said. "Defensively we've got to close the game out -- struggled with it last year, struggle with it again this year."

The Spartans (2-1) will head out to Illinois for their first road game to play Northwestern. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.

"There are a lot of different things that you could look at," Dantonio said. "We have to get on to the next challenge and that will be Northwestern, away, with three out of the next four being away games, we will be challenged and we have to get ourselves ready."

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