MSU Football Week 1 Recap: From the Field

With a victory over Furman Friday night, Michigan State is now 1-0 in 2016 and stretch their home-opening winning streak to 18 games which is good enough for the third-longest active streak in the nation.

The 28-13 win was a little bit of a shock however. The defending Big Ten champion was not supposed to squeak by the FCS school.

MSU marched down the field in the first quarter with a first drive touchdown. It seemed the Spartans would cruise after that. Nevertheless, penalties hurt MSU from scoring in bunches in the first half.

“I thought we started out pretty good, obviously we started out fast,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “But penalties were a big part of what happened today.”

If MSU wants to win big games, the Spartans cannot stall drives by committing penalties.

The Spartans committed 10 penalties for 120 yards compared to Furman’s four penalties for 34 yards.

“I’m certainly pleased with a win, but I’m disappointed with mostly the penalties,” offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. “That’s certainly a big thing that we need to take care of. We cannot hurt ourselves, whether it be with penalties or with missed assignments, there were a few out there that hurt us.”

The good news for Spartan fans is that quarterback Tyler O’Connor looked comfortable in the pocket. The fifth-year senior was 13-of-18 throwing for 190 yards and three touchdowns.

O’Connor found senior Monty Madaris throughout the game. The two hooked up for big gains and clutch first downs. By the end Madaris notched five receptions for 85 yards averaging 17 yards per catch.

“I thought Monty Madaris played well,” Dantonio stated. “He is a senior, and I thought he played very well. He had some big plays.”

Nonetheless, there are a few areas to work on. An interception late in the game almost bit the Spartans. The play before, O’Connor never glanced to another wide receiver, making it easy for the opposing defender to read the eyes of the quarterback. On the very next play, O’Connor failed to keep the defender honest, translating into an easy pick.

If there was a perfect game to shake out the rust, this was the opportunity. It was an excellent game for O’Connor and the rest of the Spartans to learn.

“I really have high expectations,” senior defensive back Demetrious Cox stated. “We really just have to keep getting better and keep building. We are going to get in the film room, correct it and move on.”

Another bright spot was sophomore running back LJ Scott who rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries.

Even the star rusher was not content with the performance.

“Everything wasn’t perfect. We just have to be better and closer as a team because we were getting three and outs for no reason,” sophomore running back LJ Scott said. “There was no reason for that at all, we were killing ourselves. We have to get better as a team.”

The Spartans have a bye week to head into the film room and correct the kinks before they head to South Bend for their matchup with No. 10 Notre Dame.