The wind has helped create some sloppy football in East Lansing, as Michigan State and Michigan are tied 7-7 at halftime.
Maybe the crowd at Spartan Stadium could break into singing some Donovan during the halftime break. Can the MSU marching band play “Catch the Wind” for the fans to sing along to?
For me to love you now,
Would be the sweetest thing, ’twould make me sing,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.
Spartans and Wolverines fans surely want to love their team’s effort in the first half, but the offenses are not making it easy. (I’m not sure either school’s special shoe company-mandated uniforms are getting much love, either.) Both sides have to hope for some crisper football when play resumes in the second half.
Penalties were a major problem for Michigan State, with the home team committing eight infractions for 67 yards. Two penalties by defensive tackle Jerel Worthy were particularly troubling, each giving Michigan first downs when the Wolverines’ offense looked to be stalling.
Drops have also been an issue for the Spartans’ offense, killing some good offensive drives and preventing quarterback Kirk Cousins from getting into a rhythm. The senior QB has completed 8-of-13 passes for just 62 yards in the first half. If B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin hold onto to a deep or mid-range throw here or there, Cousins’ numbers look a lot better. And Michigan State would probably have some more points on the board.
Can Denard Robinson blame the wind for his terrible passing numbers in the first half? The conditions probably aren’t helping his long passes, but Robinson has looked bad on several of his throws. The Spartans’ pass rush has contributed to that, hurrying him on a few plays. But Robinson has also regressed to some poor throwing mechanics. In the first half, Michigan’s quarterback is 3-of-11 passing for 39 yards.
The Wolverines have been able to move the ball on the ground, with Robinson rushing for 42 yards on seven carries. Vincent Smith has also provided a nice complement from the tailback position with 33 yards on six rushes. But Michigan State has been able to prevent Robinson from breaking off a signature long run. Will Al Borges call more running plays exclusively for Robinson in the second half? He might have to, whether he wants to or not.
The Spartans seem to have the clear advantage with their running game. Michigan State’s offensive line is overpowering Michigan’s front four thus far, pushing them off the ball and opening big holes for Edwin Baker. The junior running back has 71 yards in the first half on 11 carries. If not for MSU trying to put together a more balanced attack, Baker might have even better numbers.
Given the effect the wind has had on the passing game and the offensive line’s dominance on the line of scrimmage, the Spartans might go to the run far more often in the second half.
Michigan State gets the ball to begin the third quarter.