Michigan State questions: Loss was bad, but Spartans still bowling

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Date sent: 2017/11/13 03:25:55
Florida. As long as the Spartans take <a href=""></a> care of their business next week at home against Maryland and the following week at Rutgers. Win those two games, and MSU finishes the regular season with nine wins, which, I’m guessing, most of you would’ve taken back in August.
Beating U-M and Penn State made some question if the Spartans could even better than we thought. And while they’re definitely ahead of schedule — at least according to outsiders; Mark Dantonio liked this team all summer — they are a few playmakers on defense and some experienced offensive linemen away from making another run at the College Football Playoff.
The Michigan State Spartans lost a shot at a Big Ten title with a 48-3 loss at Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Video by Chris Solari/DFP
What happened to Brian Lewerke?
He had a bad game. They happen.
A week after torching Penn State for 400 yards, he managed 131 against the Buckeyes.
Lewerke is still going to be a very good quarterback. He just didn’t have it Saturday. Not from the start.
More: Michigan State report card: Nothing worked for Spartans in awful loss
Now, he spent most of the game getting chased from the pocket, looking for receivers who struggled to get open consistently.
And when they did? He missed them. Often.
Yes, this is partly because of the Buckeyes’ pass rush. And surely that affected his rhythm. But that doesn’t completely explain his misses.
Remember, this was Lewerke’s first time starting against Ohio State. His first time playing at Ohio Stadium. His first time starting with so much at stake. Beat the Buckeyes and a path to Indianapolis and the Big Ten title game opens wide.
It’s true that even had Lewerke played well Saturday, the Spartans likely weren’t going to win. Still, he learned some things against Ohio <a href=""></a> State, and here’s guessing he won’t forget the lessons anytime soon.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio speaks to the media after the 48-3 loss to Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Video by Chris Solari/DFP
What will it take to return to the 'Spartan Dawg' defense?
It starts with the defensive line.
The pool of 275-to-300-pound teenagers with quick feet is — relatively speaking — the size of a bird bath. There aren’t many of them, and the top programs tend to hoard them. This means the next-tier programs sometimes have to take chances.

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