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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last Week/This Week

Last Week = W/49-14 over Western Michigan

WHOOOOOOOOOOOO! Celebrate good times!

Well, not quite. Even though the Spartans actually looked somewhat impressive, especially Captain Kirk and his 353 yards through the air, this was, as I mentioned last week, a Bronco team that was practically running on empty. They had just lost to Kent State the week before, and Tim Hiller’s stats this season, particularly in their loss to Central Michigan, make it clear that team has zero running game. Against the Chips, Hiller fired for 410 yards off 66 attempts! West actually ran for 96 yards with a 4.6 YPC average, but that still puts a crazy load on your QB.

Ashton Leggett (right) was the big story that everyone liked to talk about for the Spartans this weekend, as he went for 110, including a 71 yard TD run early in the game, as the team’s primary runner. Leggett got the playing time coming off the news of Caulton Ray and Andre Anderson’s dismissals from the team for “unspecified reasons.” It’s great that MSU has a lot of depth at the running back position, but it makes it difficult when it’s clear that the freshman, especially Edwin Baker, may be talented, but aren’t quite ready for the spotlight. Baker had a solid 5.2 YPC average against Western, but runs of 37 and 39 yards helped his average drastically in games against Iowa and Western Michigan respectively.

This Week = at Purdue, @ 12pm – ESPN

Can the Spartans go bowling? This week will probably be the key. Bruce Feldman’s bowl projections for ESPN have MSU heading to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl, a game that is affiliating itself for one of the last times with the Big Ten. But, I digress, especially since the Spartans actually have to win to be eligible. MSU’s 5-5 right now, needing 6 wins to become eligible. Even though the Penn State game is at home, and they didn’t look all that great last week against the Buckeyes, most would still agree that the Purdue game is the more winnable of the two.

The key to beating the Boilers is stopping Ralph Bolden. Joey Elliott went buck wild against Michigan last week for 367 yards, but that’s because Bolden opened him up, going for 98 on 16 carries. Against Wisconsin, where Elliott threw for only 5 completions, 59 yards and a pick, Bolden ran for only 37 yards on 10 carries. That’s a 2.4 YPC difference folks, and 3.7 YPC isn’t going to open up the passing lanes quite like 6.1 will. Greg Jones and Co. will have to be on their game to make sure they keep Bolden between the tackles and don’t let him outside, where he can be dangerous for the big gain.

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