Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Penalties, miscommunications show in historic loss to No. 8 Washington

September 17, 2023
Redshirt senior defensive lineman Brandon Wright (26) falls while attempting to defend against University of Washington players during a game against University of Washington at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023.
Redshirt senior defensive lineman Brandon Wright (26) falls while attempting to defend against University of Washington players during a game against University of Washington at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023.

Just about nothing went right in Michigan State football’s 34 point loss to the eighth best team in the country, the Washington Huskies, on Saturday evening. The Spartans gave up an all-time record 713 total yards and allowed Heisman candidate senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to pass for 473 yards and four touchdowns.

“There's the things that we can change, probably how we scheme things up,” acting head coach Harlon Barnett said after his first game in the role. “We have the defense to do it, it is just the matter of what you want to call and how we play. We thought we had the right things down for this week and apparently they weren't so we'll tweak some things and try to help us to not give up that type of yardage again ever.”

Altogether MSU recorded 11 penalties for a grand total of 83 yards. A lot of the penalties, however, were drive killers that came from illegal substitutions or false starts that negated any momentum the team was building when the ball was moving.

“We can’t have any penalties like those,” Barnett said. “Substitution errors, missed tackles, things like that. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we can’t beat ourselves. As the number one leader here, I have to be better.”

On the offensive side of the ball, whether the mistakes came from the offensive line or the wide receiver corps, the players know that they have a lot to fix in order to change the direction this loss could spiral the team into, especially with a tough Big Ten season right around the corner.

“Myself along with the rest of the team, we gotta take it up another notch right now, especially after a loss like that,” redshirt senior wide receiver Tre Mosley said. “We had so many mistakes. Self imposed mistakes and can’t do that when we play against a good team like we did tonight. So let's clean it up and get back to the drawing board.”

While the play from the team left a lot to be desired, redshirt senior offensive lineman J.D. Duplain thinks the answer lies in watching their mistakes over this week.

“We just got to watch the film and get better,” Duplain said. “I know it's repetitive but it's what we need. We were very prepared, we're gonna watch the film, and really just be frustrated because usually you got four or five guys in the right and one guy just not doing the right thing. So we're going to fix that and we're going to get better. Everyone's bought into Capital Barnett, he's one of the best coaches I've ever had. He's gonna give us the right word. We're gonna get better.”

Maryland will come to East Lansing next weekend to kickoff the Big Ten season. As of now, MSU is scheduled to face three teams all ranked above Washington. The team will need to take this loss and learn how to be competitive against that type of talent in order to have a chance in the conference this year. 

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