Before I get straight into discussing MSU, some thoughts on the Minnesota game.
Chad Henne - kid was dealing last night. 17/24 for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs. Most of his incompletions were when he threw it away or were dropped by the receivers. He was on fire and threw several strikes deep downfield. After the 2 game warmup against Vandy and Central, he has completed 68% of his passes in the last 3 games and two of those were on the road. This is the best he has ever played in his career and he is in the midst of a monster season.
Mike Hart - He must really be hating Lloyd right now. 91 yards last week before getting rested for half of the 4th quarter. Now he goes out and racks up 195 yards only to see Lloyd pull him before he can hit 200. It's a rough life being the leading rusher in the Big Ten. I kid, I kid. He was dynamite yesterday repeatedly gashing the Gophers for 5-10 yards at a time. On the first drive alone he almost singlehandedly broke their will.
Adrian Arrington - 2nd straight good game in a row and he is developing into the Robin to Manningham's Batman. Had 2 very nice routes on his touchdown catches and it's always nice to see a tall receiver that can get open downfield.
Mario Manningham - considering the kid hardly saw any action come his way against Vanderbilt and Central Michigan, his stats the last 3 weeks are amazing. Three straight 100 yard performances with 6 TDs. He is 9th nationally in total receiving yards and tied for 1st with 7 TDs. The last time a Michigan receiver hit for three in a row was Braylon Edwards who had 4 straight 100 yard games to finish the 2003 season and then started 2004 with 4 straight in games 2-5 (that was 8 times in 9 games?!?!?!?! and the game he didn't he went for 91 yards and the game after the streak he went for 98).
The Defense - hats off to Minnesota. They not only cracked 100 yards rushing, they kept the pass rush at bay the entire game. But still a solid effort all around for the defense. Minnesota had a risky strategy on the rushing game using some quick hitters and misdirections. In the first half, this resulted in 1 of 2 things. Either Michigan hit them behind the line when they got penetration or the DL took themselves out of the play trying to get penetration. There were lots of runs for 1 yard or less and lots of runs for 8 yards or more. In the 2nd half, the DL stopped getting upfield so quickly and the ground game for Minnesota dried up. As for the passrush, Minnesota relied on a very quick passing game with mostly 3 and 5 step drops. And I hate to even mention it, but the Gopher OL got away with holding the DEs repeatedly. Biggs, Jamison, and Woodley could not get free even after they beat their man. And Charles Stewart? Not too bad as it took some brilliant throws by Cupito to beat him, but he got beat. Let's hope Morgan Trent heals up quickly.
Enough about Minnesota, though, it's Spartan Time! I haven't linked it yet and it's been linked everywhere already, but I'll be listening to Mike Valenti's meltdown last week repeatedly this week. It's just that good. I'm assuming he won't be nearly as good this week because he won't have much else to say. I mean they lost to Illinois. I'd assume he just walks in and says "F*ck it, seasons over". The only problem is that this is UM-MSU week and the game will be the topic of discussion all week long.
I should say that I actually feel sorry for Spartan fans. It has got to be beyond painful to root for that program with all the crap they've gone through the last 20 years. The best thing for everybody involved might be for Michigan to blow them off the field next week and assure John L. Smith's firing. Remember Bobby Williams and his embarrasment at Michigan State? Yep, it all came to a close when Michigan bombed them 49-3 in Ann Arbor.
Game On Spartans