Michigan State’s disappointing 16-13 loss to Arizona State Saturday night in Tempe brought out the alarmists on the Twitter. Michigan State isn’t Alabama. Losses are going to occur. The rest of the season shouldn’t be canceled.
Well into Sunday morning, I was perusing through the Twitters and all of that mumbo jumbo and I actually laughed out loud when I read one of the Twitters from one of the experts.
The sentiment from the expert was stated in a one-word declarative sentence regarding the expert’s thoughts on Michigan State’s disappointing 16-13 loss to Arizona State:
It was part of a short rant in which the expert was stating – in expert parlance – how horrible Michigan State’s loss really was.
And with apologies to this same expert since there are so many others who Twittered similar sentiments, this same expert announced this:
“Bottom line is this is a bad loss.”
Just in case the “unacceptable” statement didn’t get the point across strongly enough, it was important to also make clear that the “bottom line” is that the loss was a “bad loss.”
I’ll tell you what’s “unacceptable:”
Walking into the kitchen this morning and finding a rodent corpse of some sort that my cat devoured and left on the kitchen floor as a “show of love,” according to the cat lovers who have been trying to convince me for years that when the cat brings in dead animals that it’s a good thing since it means the cat loves me.
That is unacceptable.
The Twitter experts are analyzing the film, using their thesauruses to come up with other words that can be used other than “unacceptable” and they’re going on and on about how the sky is falling.
The stats pretty much say it all even if some of the experts want to get really granular and talk about gap spacing and the angularity of the defensive back’s stance as he prepared to approach the line on a 3rd and 6 midway through the 4th quarter.
Michigan State ran the ball for a total of 63 yards on 27 carries for an average of 2.3 yards per carry.
Zero rushing touchdowns.
Brian Lewerke worked his butt off and played his heart out in front of his family and friends – but the interception he threw in the endzone when Michigan State was on the verge of going up 10-0 and, perhaps, taking full control of what could have been an assertive win was a game-changing moment.
We’re going to break down some of the key elements of Saturday night’s game later – but, for right now, here’s what Spartan fans should try to cling on to:
This loss wasn’t “unacceptable.”
In fact, it was pretty “acceptable.”
Let’s give credit where it’s due – Herm Edwards (who we’ve tossed plenty of grenades at ever since Arizona State hired him) coached a masterful game and might just be the guy who can take Arizona State places.
Manny Wilkins – the 5th year senior quarterback for Arizona State – gutted through plenty of overthrows and wound up making the plays that led to a Sun Devil win.
His dime to All-Everything N’Keal Harry was a thing of beauty and was the type of play made by a guy who’s determined to get a huge win in a huge home game for his team.
Kyle Williams and Harry ended up with great nights after hauling in a combined 193 yards between them.
Yo put a capper on Lewerke’s endzone interception early in the game, the Spartans failed to hammer it into the endzone on two more trips into the red zone – field goals rather than touchdowns wound up being the difference in this game.
But here’s a reality that Spartans might want to remind themselves of:
Sometimes the other guys just get it done.
It isn’t always a matter of the good guys finding ways to ruin everyone’s lives.
In 2013, after Michigan State lost a similarly ugly road game at Notre Dame and fans were losing their minds since the previous season yielded a frustrating 7-6 overall mark, Mark Dantonio said something that might be one of his most underrated quotes.
Dantonio, after that 17-13 loss to the Fighting Irish, said, “We lost a game. We didn’t lose our way.”
Michigan State, of course, went on to have one of the best seasons in program history that culminated in the victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Just a year ago, Notre Dame came into Spartan Stadium and thumped the Spartans 38-18 with all of the wreckage of the 2016 disaster season still right in front of everyone’s faces.
This 2018 Spartan team has a long way to go before anyone can have dreams of a 2013-type of season.
But, the loss last night in Tempe in a tough and tricky game, played in a fairly brutal environment, and in a game that everyone knew was going to be a challenge, was not “unacceptable.”
The wind in the Spartan sails might be pretty weak right now and may continue to be flimsy for a what could end up being a few weeks since the next huge opportunity comes when the Spartans travel to Penn State on October 13th.
But there is plenty to do before anyone can even start to think about possible short term redemption being achieved and a 2018 reclamation being accomplished over a month from now.
The bye week now creates a weird dynamic –
Is it good for the Spartans to get a break after Saturday night’s stumble so the team can focus on trying to corral an identity?
Or, would it be better for the Spartans to get back out there and get a win under its belt as soon as possible to regenerate energy and forward progress?
Mark Dantonio has a tough challenge in front of him since the season, while only two games in, feels like it might be wobbling a bit.
But if there are people out there who don’t think that Dantonio knows how to handle the situation and isn’t working, right this very minute, on finding potential solutions to a weak running game and an offensive line that just doesn’t seem to be reaching its potential yet, I can’t help those people and I don’t think anyone can.
And, yes – of course the loss to Arizona State is a disappointment.
There isn’t anyone out there that is more disappointed than the players and the coaches that make up the Michigan State football program (well, maybe the Twitter expert who announced that the loss was “unacceptable” is more disappointed but his disappointment might be rooted in things having nothing to do with last night’s game).
To the experts who were on the Twitter with pretty hilariously childish declarative statements during and after the game about how things were and are “unacceptable,” I’ll offer this for consideration that may or may not make any sense:
This is the most successful, most productive stretch of football in the history of the Michigan State football program.
The team is going to lose some ball games.
We were very bullish on this whole season and Saturday night’s game, specifically.
Our prediction called for a 40-23 Michigan State victory over Arizona State, punctuated by the rushing attack not only delivering a knock-out blow with the game still in the balance but finding its legs and demonstrating that the Pound Green Pound way was back and would lead the way for the rest of the season.
That perspective was way off.
But there isn’t anything “unacceptable” about Michigan State losing to Arizona State Saturday night in 100-degree heat in front of a rabid crowd with a guy in Herm Edwards who appears to have some things clicking.
Cheer up, Spartans.
No need to cancel the rest of the season.
While we’re all hammering away on our computers – and while some are really examining the film as if they’re gonna need to turn back the clock, suit up in a Spartan uniform or coach’s sideline attire and re-call/re-play the game against the Sun Devils – Michigan State’s best football coach in the history of the school is working on this stuff with his staff and the players.
There are plenty of elements from the loss that we’ll address and provide thoughts on – but, for right now, let’s try to keep our heads on straight and maybe see that it’s my cat’s nonsense with the constant delivery of dead rodents and vermin that is unacceptable.
Michigan State’s loss to the Sun Devils – disappointing, sure.
But not “unacceptable.”
The season may just continue….