Michigan State Football: Takeaways from the loss versus Washington

Well, it is over. The Michigan State Spartans suffered the group’s first loss of the 2022 season at the fingers of the Washington Huskies on Saturday, falling 39-28 after trailing by three possessions for a lot of the recreation. Mistakes piled up early. The Spartans ran simply six performs on offense in the first quarter. It was a very ugly loss for Mel Tucker and MSU.

Let’s dive proper into this week’s takeaways.

Payton Thorne bounced again

Let’s begin with the good, OK? Quarterback Payton Thorne definitely began his season off a bit rocky. In the first two video games, he was lacking a few of the routine throws that made him and the Spartan passing recreation so thrilling final season. He simply regarded off, and with this Washington matchup on the clock, it was clear he wanted to step it up.

And he did simply that. Thorne completed the recreation with 30 completions for 323 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He linked on a lot of the throws he missed on to begin the 12 months, and outdoors of some miscommunication and his interception late in the recreation, he regarded like the Thorne that helped lead the Spartans to an 11-2 end in 2021. The Spartans want that to proceed by way of the remainder of the season. Hopefully extensive receiver Jayden Reed is again on the subject quickly as he recovers from his damage, which is able to solely assist.

Thorne’s final landing move particularly — dropping the throw completely into Keon Coleman’s arms in stride — for the rating gave me flashbacks to final season. I’ll be searching for him to maintain creating the deep move once more as the Spartans open convention play subsequent week.

Keon Coleman has such a shiny future

Speaking of Keon Coleman, what a recreation from the sophomore.

Coleman exploded in the absence of Reed, recording 9 receptions for 116 yards, two touchdowns, and two two-point conversions. His first scoring seize and the reception for the two-point conversion had been a few of the greatest catches I’ve seen from a Spartan in recent times. He snagged each as they had been inching nearer to incomplete passes.

If Reed is out for an prolonged time frame this season, the Spartans stay in good fingers with Coleman as the prime extensive receiver for the time being, and will certainly be in good fingers for the subsequent few years as he continues to develop and develop .

The protection nonetheless wants…work

Now we’re beginning to transfer into the not-so-good from Saturday’s recreation. This one is the obtrusive takeaway, however one thing, ANYTHING needs to be executed to this protection. I used to be naive, and was satisfied after the shutout win over Akron that possibly, simply possibly, the protection was bettering. But, after Saturday, it is clear that it actually wasn’t as fastened as we thought.

The Spartan protection gave up all however one out there yard of offense to the Huskies in the first half, forcing a turnover on downs on Michigan State’s 1-yard-line for MSU’s solely cease of the half. It was a monster of a cease, nevertheless (because of defensive finish Khris Bogle), and I feel the Spartans actually deserve credit score for that.

However, for many of the recreation, the protection merely regarded misplaced. Coverages had been blown, strain wasn’t getting even near Michael Penix for many of the recreation after the Spartans discovered a lot of success in the first two weeks. It’s straightforward to say that possibly Saturday was a fluke in that regard, however given the expertise hole between the Spartans’ first two opponents and the Huskies, I’d say it is much more probably that MSU solely discovered that success in the first two weeks due to the degree of competitors. That shall be one thing to keep watch over going ahead, particularly with Minnesota, which has a really proficient offensive line, on the clock.

We all understand how poorly Michigan State’s passing protection carried out in 2021. It was extra of the similar versus Washington on Saturday evening, as the Spartans gave up 397 passing yards and 503 whole yards. The backside line is that the protection has numerous work to do if the Spartans hope to try to repeat their group’s success from 2021.

Time to recalibrate expectations

We knew heading into Saturday that it could be robust. It was on the highway, throughout the nation (on the West Coast, the place Michigan State has traditionally struggled), and in opposition to a considerably higher opponent than the Spartans had confronted the first two weeks. However, a efficiency like that was not anticipated. There’s nonetheless time for the Spartans to try to flip issues round, but when Michigan State shouldn’t be in a position to, there must be some huge recalibration of expectations from followers.

The schedule is hard. The Spartans have a gauntlet this October with Ohio State, Wisconsin, and a recreation at Michigan all back-to-back-back (minus a bye earlier than the journey to Ann Arbor), however Michigan State additionally travels to Happy Valley in opposition to a proficient Penn State group to finish the season. I’m not saying MSU cannot or will not win at the very least two of these video games, however after the approach the group got here out in opposition to the Huskies, I feel expectations should be lowered a bit for this group.

Michigan State was just a little spoiled by its success in 2021, and whereas the Spartans have been bit with the damage bug early, a few of the most important issues of final 12 months’s group look to be again this season. In order for MSU to succeed and try to get again to double-digit wins, particularly with this schedule, some critical work must be executed over these subsequent few weeks as the Spartans open up convention play.

It’s nonetheless early. There’s nonetheless a while to wash issues up. But there must be some critical urgency if Michigan State needs to realize its targets this season. Minnesota shall be a great take a look at for the Spartans at house subsequent week. We’ll see what occurs subsequent.

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