With the first three games of the 2013 season under their belt, the Michigan State football team is 3-0, with three cupcake wins over Western Michigan, South Florida, and Youngstown State.
However, the cupcake season is now over and it’s time for Michigan State to get set for the real part of their football schedule.
At the beginning of this season, it was largely expected that Michigan State would be 3-0 at this point in the 2013 campaign. Even with glaring questions at pretty much every position on the offensive side of the ball, it was expected that the Spartans top notch defense and soft schedule would allow them to get off to a solid start.
And that’s almost exactly what has happened.
For starters, yes this Michigan State football team is indeed off to a 3-0 start and their defense has played spectacular, especially a guy by the name of Shilique Calhoun. However, for the large part of this season, the offense has failed to do much of anything. That is until last week, when they put up 55 points on Youngstown State.
And while it seems Michigan State has sorted out… (ehh, scratch that, not quite sorted out. Addressed is the proper word choice here. Remember, they were playing Youngstown State last week, let’s not get ahead of ourselves….)
Anyways, as of now, it seems Michigan State has addressed some of it’s issues on the offensive side of the ball. With the play of red shirt sophomore quarterback Connor Cook against Youngstown State on Saturday, who tossed four touchdowns in the first half, it appears a quarterback on the Michigan State football team has finally done enough to separate himself from the others.
In addition, with sophomore wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. stepping up as of late, Michigan State finally has a play maker at the wide out position. All the while the tailback combination of Nick Hill, Jeremy Langford, and Riley Bullough continue to produce in a “running back by committee” type of run game.
Nevertheless, even though it was just Youngstown State, Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio is hoping that the win can do some good for his team.
“Hopefully we caught fire a little bit and we develop some confidence,” Dantonio said of the offensive display on Saturday. “We’re a young team in some aspects, as people have said with our quarterback, maybe a couple wide receivers as well. But I think it’s a start. I feel like we got off the dime a little bit. It’s a start in the right direction. Now we need to see that move forward, come to fruition in this game.”
And they’ll need to keep that fire going, because right now for the Michigan State football team, cupcake season is over. From here on out, the Spartans will dive into their Big Ten schedule. But before they do that, they’ll go on the road to take on the No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1) this Saturday at 3:30 PM on NBC.
Notre Dame has been a tough match up as of late for Michigan State, with the Irish taking three of the last four against the Spartans. In last year’s contest, Notre Dame absolutely shut down the Michigan State offense, beating them down in East Lansing 20-3.
And with Connor Cook set to make his third career start against the Irish, it certainly will be a huge step above what he’s played against the last two weeks, which were far less formidable opponents then what Michigan State is about to see in Notre Dame.
“I want us to compete,” Dantonio said. “Connor Cook is going to do that. No doubt in my mind he’s going to do that. But we can’t negate the fact we’ve got to make the plays. Running the football, as well.
“I think Connor Cook is in his third year and you’re starting to see some maturity on his part,” Dantonio went on to say. “Good things will start to happen.”
Again, at this point in the season, Michigan State certainly is not in horrible shape, at least not yet. 3-0 is not a bad place to be. It’s in the coming weeks where we will start to see exactly what kind of resiliency the Spartans have. Because after Notre Dame, the Spartans will go on the road to face Iowa, which is never an easy place to play. And after three manageable games against Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois, the Spartans will face a brutal three game stretch of Michigan at home and back to back road contests against both Nebraska and Northwestern.
All in all, Michigan State has a long road ahead.
“We’re going to find out a little bit more about who is who in our football team as we move forward,” Dantonio said.
And that they will.
What becomes of this Michigan State football team this year remains up in the air. Will they figure everything out and make it to a respectable bowl game this season? Or will they find themselves in the midst of another lost season, much like last year? All of these things remain to be seen but they’ll get a start at finding some answers to these questions this Saturday in South Bend.
Follow Ryan Squanda on Twitter @squandaryan