My wife is a former bando. As such we tailgate on Adams Field and the beginning of every home game starts for us by following the band in after they’re doing Series. If you haven’t yet done this, it’s a part of the gameday experience not to be missed.
On the ensuing walk is one of my favorite moments of coming to Spartan Stadium. As you walk towards the Sparty statue the stadium comes into view from behind the trees and that’s the moment it all comes together. I’m no longer part of pedestrian crap like having a job or worrying about paying bills. The next 3-4 hours belong to me, my friends and my family.
Last night we round the bend and the very first thing I see is HOLY SCOREBOARDS. I had intentionally avoided going to see them in person so my first experience would be last night. People say the pictures don’t do their size and grandeur justice. People were right.
Through a ticketing snafu we ended up sitting detached a couple rows over and up from our main block of friends and I got to watch the game with my wife and a couple friends from out of town. The last time she and I watched the game alone was probably MSU-Hawaii in 2004 and she fell asleep at 2:30, like a reasonable person should. The scoreboards were beautiful and amazing and frankly distracting at times. We watched our new Quarterback lead his new receivers against a Boise State opponent that had no business at Spartan Stadium and the whole game just felt surreal.
It was like watching a game in an alternate universe where what I know about Michigan State football offensively felt broken. MSU ran on third and short to wild success. The sure handed receivers were trying to catch a buttery football all game. Maxwell managed to avoid getting sacked, but probably would have been safer to get sacked a couple times. The PUNTER got a late hit penalty. (I actually thought this was kind of badass.)
The most amazing thing about it though is outside of the fact that Bell CANNOT tote the ball 44 times a game all season, nothing about the offense was statistically broken. Except turnovers obviously, but that can be fixed. 10/19 on 3rd down? In 14 games last year MSU did that once. Time of Possession of 39 minutes I suspect that’s a Dantonio record as well. The defense stayed fresh and only allowed three earned points.
The challenge as fans was adjusting to something new. This was not the Michigan State team we had come to know and love the last two years. It also wasn’t the Michigan State team of 2009 with the offensive sputters or the 2008 Ringer throws to Ringer who passes back to Ringer or even the 2007 Ringer/Caulcrick Offensive Victory march. This was just something altogether different and different is bad and scary and new. The newness is certainly not over yet either, what we saw on offense last night is unlikely to reflect the polished product of 2012, but it won’t be what we’ve seen before.
- Le’Veon Bell scored himself a pair of the hover shoes from Back to the Future II. His ability to get positive yardage on every single play won MSU the game last night. A beautifully executed performance by him.
- Dion Sims and Maxwell are going to cause some problems for anyone who doesn’t have 260 lb linebackers this year. Which is to say, everyone.
- I don’t know if there’s an English word to describe our defensive performance last night. Inexorable comes to mind. Merciless is another.
- I’m actually going to put Maxwell’s performance in the good category, but only just. Of the three picks only one goes squarely on him and MSU was pressing because it was the end of the half. What concerned me more was the throwing the ball while he was getting sacked. Take a sack dude, we’ll still cheer for you.
- The defense sniffing out the two throwback plays in a row. I’ve never seen a team, not even Boise, do that before. Keeping on their toes for a second trickeration play was sharp.
- Uhm, the receivers had a bumpy night. I’d wager a guess(I haven’t rewatched yet) that of Maxwell’s 16 completions that roughly half were catchable balls.
- The offensive gameplan cannot be to run Bell 44 times a game, he will need new legs by season end if MSU even a few more times.
- I know Roushar gonna Roushar, but the reverse pass to Lippett made me crazy. Overall I thought he called a pretty good game, but we were moving the ball well on that drive. The trickeration seemed unnecessary.
1-0. On to Central.