Saturday afternoons in East Lansing used to be fun, but for much of the 2016 season Spartans Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Michigan State Spartans. So much so that MSU has been winless in Big Ten games coming in to its contest with Rutgers.
Michigan State is winless no more, thrashing the visiting Scarlet Knights 49-0 and ensuring Rutgers’ place at the bottom of the Big Ten barrel.
There were all the hallmarks of past great Spartan teams — holding Rutgers to just 149 yards of total offense, racking up 277 yards on the ground and owning the time of possession battle big time.
No doubt the win felt good, but everyone not named Howard or New Mexico have basically crushed the Scarlet Knights this season. Given that knowledge, what exactly can we learn from this type of win and this type of game?
Let’s start with the fact that Michigan State has plenty of talent and it finally put all of it together for four quarters. I mean, the running game is loaded and finally came through with the top three running backs combining for 226 of the 277 yards racked up in the run game.
Oh, and that defense loaded with all that “NFL” talent? It did its part and finally looked the part of one of the best defensive units in the country. Holding Rutgers’ starting quarterback Giovanni Rescigno to just 40 yards on 6 of 16 passing and a pair of interceptions certainly made that statement loud and clear.
There’s simply no substitute for playing well and then being able to repeat it. On this Saturday the Spartans finally got the first part of that equation correct, can it repeat it going forward?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, though. There’s a lot of distance between Rutgers’ ability and that of Ohio State and well…just about any other team in college football right now.
Until Michigan State can put this type of performance up against the best the Big Ten has to offer, this win will ring hollow. After all, it isn’t as if Michigan State is going to a bowl game.
Don’t worry though, the Spartans will get the chance to prove it has turned the corner quickly with a visit from Ohio State next weekend.