Is The Cavalry On Its Way?

Is The Cavalry On Its Way?

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Is The Cavalry On Its Way?

As Michigan State prepares to square off against the Oregon Ducks in the Redbox Bowl on December 31st, there is a strange reality Spartan fans might stop to consider: the Spartans are likely to have a healthy team for the first time all season.

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Yes, the Spartan offense this season was comparable to the Sacred Heart Vikings’ 8th Grade team’s offense in 1985 when I led the squad as a dual-threat quarterback with the “threats” consisting of the potential for me to gain two yards on a quarterback sneak behind the center and a soft toss to Chuck Baisley who usually was stymied for a four-yard loss.

Yes, even before Brian Lewerke suffered his shoulder injury against Penn State, he didn’t seem to be the same Brian Lewerke that played like a possible star over the course of his sophomore season when he led the Spartans to a 10-3 record.

Yes, Michigan State failed to gain a yard on several 4th and 1 situations against teams that aren’t in the College Football Playoff.

Yes, Michigan State never seemed to find the “magic” that the team had all throughout the many successful seasons during the Dantonio Era.

But it’s perfectly fair to point out what everyone certainly knows –

This football team suffered through injury after injury after injury and just about every injury had a dramatic impact on the team’s ability to win games.

It’s never been an excuse – but there isn’t any denying that the injuries that hit Michigan State in 2018 played a significant role in the team’s disappointing season.

The good news?

When Michigan State takes the field on December 31st against the Oregon Ducks in a potentially redemptive Redbox Bowl, the Spartans will, for the first time since August, be healthy at, presumably, every position.

That includes the quarterback position.

And for the folks who have soured on Brian Lewerke, please refresh your memory and think about what this guy did in moments like this one:

Or this one –

It was hard to watch Felton Davis be driven off the field after he tore his achilles in the game against Michigan this season.

Davis alone would have, perhaps, meant one or two more wins this season for Michigan State.

And it would have been terrific to see him finish his stellar career as a Spartan by continuing to build up a profile and a resume that would have jumped out at any NFL team paying attention.

It appears as though Davis might be the only injured Spartan who won’t be playing against Oregon.

Brian Lewerke, LJ Scott, Cody White, David Beedle, Matt Allen, Cole Chewins, Jalen Nailor, Darrell Stewart, Josiah Scott, Josh Butler, Laress Nelson, Cam Chambers, Dillon Alexander, Jordan Reid, Luke Campbell, Kevin Jarvis, and anyone else I’m forgetting about – every one of these guys has spent meaningful time on the sideline due to injury.

That’s a lot of dudes who were all supposed to be important parts of a Big Ten Championship contending team.

Would any team out there be able to overcome this type of injury tsunami?

The fact that all of these guys will have had the chance to heal for about a month and a half should give Spartan fans some optimism as everyone starts to think about the opportunity to end this season against the Ducks on a high note.

For whatever reason, the majority of the injuries have impacted offensive players – and Oregon’s defense is far from the types of defenses that Michigan State has gone up against this season.

The Ducks finished the season with the nation’s #62 overall defense.

Can a healthy Spartan offense show what it was supposed to do all season against the Ducks in the Redbox Bowl?

With just about all of these guys coming back in 2019, does this game give the Spartans the chance to show themselves what they can do in 2019?

A healthy Spartan team back in August was a team that was universally recognized as a team that was going to compete for the Big Ten Championship – and maybe more.

The Redbox Bowl will be the first time this team will take the field in the way it was supposed to dating back to even before the season starts.

This sure does make this an intriguing opportunity for the Spartans.

Think back to a year ago.

Even with the successful bounce-back season in which Michigan State went 9-3 prior to the Holiday Bowl against Washington State, the Spartans struggled offensively.

Michigan State won it’s 10th game of the season by routing Washington State 42-17.

Remind yourself of what Brian Lewerke was like when he was healthy, when he had a head full of steam, and when he was playing with a healthy and hungry group of winners all around him –

That performance gave everyone plenty of legitimate reasons to be optimistic about 2018.

Imagine what a comparable offensive performance in the upcoming Redbox Bowl against Oregon would do for the overall psyche of the Spartan program.

It’s worth putting a finer point on this – speculation that the Spartans can/might find a way to put together an impressive offensive performance isn’t certifiably crazy since the Spartans have, in fact, already done this with these same players when they’ve been healthy.

Would a convincing win over Oregon make it official that the 2018 season was all just a……….”mirage?”

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