Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sports | Football

FOOTBALL

Standings muddled after PSU defeat

Minnesota, Michigan, MSU and Indiana, welcome back to the Big Ten race. With U-M downing the only undefeated team in the conference, Penn State, every Big Ten team now has at least one conference loss. Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern and Ohio State are atop the standings with one loss. That's one crowded driver's seat.

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John L. sticking with defense for lack of better option

The Spartans football season has been marked by a stellar offense and an inconsistent defense through six games this year. Although the defense shined in wins against Kent State, Hawaii and Illinois, the tables turned in a loss to Michigan and Saturday's loss to Ohio State, in which the defense surrendered passing touchdowns of 51, 57 and 46 yards. MSU head coach John L.

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Blame game

Columbus, Ohio — After last season's loss to Ohio State, MSU head coach John L. Smith was livid.

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Not again! Tough loss feels too familiar

Columbus, Ohio — The expression on Kyle Brown's face said it all. He held his helmet in one hand, the other hand on his hip, sweat dripping down his face. The crowd at Ohio Stadium, which was in hibernation throughout the game, was absolutely electrified — so much so that I turned to a reporter next to me, and I couldn't hear what she was saying.

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Luxurious lockers

In 1991, Greg Bria was sitting in Munn Ice Arena watching the MSU hockey team practice when then-head coach Ron Mason skated to him. At that time, Bria was just a fan but had spent a lot of time around the team and had developed a reputation around the program as a handyman. "Hey, we need some new lockers for the locker room," Mason said.

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Fish and Bish working during MSU bye week

No. 6 Ohio State at No. 16 Penn State Fish: This game has potential to be quite a low-scoring affair. The Buckeyes have one of the best defenses in the Big Ten, and after last week's throttling of Minnesota, Penn State comes into the game with a little more swagger. People have been writing Penn State off the last few years, but these Nittany Lions could spoil Ohio State's chances of winning the Big Ten. I see this game coming down to who has the better offense, and although both teams have made steps in the right direction in this area, Ohio State's offensive tandem is more proven. Look for a late Teddy Ginn Jr.

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Offense questioned after tough loss to U-M

Despite a 4-1 record, the second guessing of the MSU football team's coaching staff has begun after some failed plays in its 34-31 overtime loss to Michigan last week. Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin has taken a bulk of the heat, but said if given the chance to recall any plays of the game, he would decline. The general feeling among Spartans fans is that the play calling has been a bit conservative, especially during the second half of MSU's win over Notre Dame and the second half of the U-M game. "To say we were conservative is ludicrous," Baldwin said.

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No. 16 Penn State plays host to No.6 Ohio State in Happy Valley

After joining the Big Ten in 1993, Penn State finished in the top three of the conference for five straight years. Yet, the Nittany Lions have not come closer than fourth place since then. But this year might be a different story as Joe Paterno has his team out to its first 5-0 start since 1999, when the team won its first nine games. This weekend presents the toughest test to date for the No.

FOOTBALL

Lack of kicking game looms large after loss to U-M

The Spartans looked far from an undefeated, No. 11-ranked team Saturday when they fell to Michigan, 34-31 in overtime, amid a number of mistakes that were absent in their previous four contests. The offense, defense, and special teams all played a rollercoaster of a game that sophomore linebacker Kaleb Thornhill called a "team loss". "The defense made mistakes, the offense made mistakes, we all made mistakes," Thornhill said.

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Monday musings

• Texas Tech has given Pat Knight, son of current men's basketball coach Bob Knight, a five-year contract to replace his dad once he retires. No word yet if MSU has made a similar promise to Tom Izzo's 5-year-old son, Steven. • You could say the Tigers limped to the finish line of another disappointing season this weekend.

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It's 'State'ment week for Spartans against old rivals

A 2-2 record this early in the season and an absence from the national polls isn't a familiar place for the Michigan football program. The Wolverines' most recent 23-20 loss to Wisconsin puts them at an overall record of .500, and marks the first time since 1981 that U-M has dropped their Big Ten opener, leaving many U-M fans calling for head coach Lloyd Carr's firing. Things don't get any easier for U-M as they head into the hostile environment of Spartan Stadium this Saturday for an annual matchup with MSU. Michigan has been troubled by injuries to starters on the offensive line, and most notably to running back Michael Hart, who still remains in question for Saturday's contest. Hart has sat out since suffering an injury in the 17-10 loss against Notre Dame two weeks ago, an absence that Carr sees as a major factor regarding U-M's season thus far. "He's a complete football player," Carr said.

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Athletes helping make a difference

For those sports fans who say athletes are not human and all they care about is the money, I have a few examples of why you are wrong. During the past few months I have heard quite a few stories of professional and college athletes and coaches who have made an impact in someone's life off the field. Does this mean that these people are great human beings that deserve a bunch of extra attention? No it doesn't.

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Wide variety

Champaign, Ill - The first drive was not pretty. It featured a fumble and then a punt. The second drive, however, was quite different. Set on their own 25-yard line, the Spartans showed just how powerful and efficient their offense could be. Junior quarterback Drew Stanton dropped back, faked a hand-off, and then found senior wide receiver Kyle Brown 19 yards down the sidelines.