Despite Michigan State sophomore quarterback Connor Cook’s stinking up of the joint Saturday afternoon, Michigan State still managed to come away victorious at home over Purdue, 14-0.
However, no matter how bad it may have appeared at times at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, the MSU football program still needs to stand behind Cook.
Look, I’m not saying there is any way you can make a 13-25, 107 yard performance look good. And I’m not trying to. Throughout the afternoon, Cook repeatedly overthrew his receiving targets, leading to yet another Saturday afternoon filled with complete offensive ineptitude and Mike Sadler punts.
Luckily for the Spartans though, the offensive ineptitude occurred for both teams, as the Michigan State defense completely shut down the Purdue offense.
And while this may have led to the quite possibly one of the most boring games in the history of football, where watching the grass grow on the field of Spartan Stadium may have been more interesting than the actual football game, the end result is what it is: Michigan State improved to 6-1 on the season and became bowl eligible in five fewer weeks than it took them last year.
Nevertheless, as Cook began to struggle Saturday afternoon, once again fans and supporters of the Michigan State program began crying for a change at quarterback.
This situation brings to mind one that occured about a month ago. After Cook was replaced by senior quarterback Andrew Maxwell against Notre Dame with two minutes to go in the game, Cook was noticeably disappointed, stating after the game that he had wished his coaches had more confidence in him and left him in there.
So this week, despite the fact that Cook was once again struggling, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio chose to stick with Connor Cook, citing confidence as a reason.
However, at this point in the season, Michigan State can’t afford to be messing around at the quarterback position anymore. Connor Cook is the guy. He has to be the guy. He’s been the guy since week 2 of this season.
And he’s played well as of late. In back-to-back weeks, Cook led a methodical Michigan State offense that went up and down the field in victories over both Iowa on the road, and Indiana at home.
But while Cook may have struggled this week against Purdue, keep in mind that he’s a sophomore in his first season as a starter. Ups and downs are going to happen.
Now granted those offensive “explosions” against Iowa and Indiana weren’t exactly Oregon-caliber.
But they were certainly something!
And now that the season is more than halfway done, making a change now…it just can’t happen. People need to just accept the fact that Cook is just as good as it gets this season.
However, it’s not a bad situation to be in. Not even close. It’s not like Cook throws four interceptions a game. No, he’s a safe, reliable quarterback. In fact, his only two interceptions on the season came off of tipped passes. They weren’t even his fault.
Look at it this way. All the problems it may seem like this Michigan State has had over the course of the season, take a look at where they are now: 6-1 and first place in the Big Ten Legends Division. I think if a Michigan State fan was told this at the beginning of the season, a good majority of them would take that.
So sit tight Spartan fans. Stand behind Cook. Michigan State is in a good place right now. With a manageable game on the road against Illinois next week, if the Spartans can get past that one, it’ll set up a showdown match up with in-state rival Michigan on November 2.
Follow Ryan Squanda on Twitter @squandaryan