Spartans Right the Ship


In front of appreciative alumni, fans and students, Michigan State did something they had not done in a while.


They won a homecoming game in dominating fashion.


The Spartans came out fired up for the night contest against Indiana.  Following last week’s seemingly disastrous loss against Northwestern, many fans were tempted to throw in the towel.  Impressively, the players and coaching staff used this to their advantage and played with a chip on their shoulder as if they were the wounded underdogs.


It’s funny how two weeks can be so drastically different.  Fans went from wearing shorts and t-shirts last week to heavy coats, gloves and hats this time around.  The team appeared the same way, not showing an ounce of the lackadaisical behavior which did them in the previous week. They finished tackles, plowed through holes, made sharp cuts and physically dominated the Hoosiers.


The team played with constructive rage, determined to make up for the accident last week that cost them their second Big Ten loss. Javon Ringer has emerged as a star, shifting and sliding around Indiana tacklers to the tune of another impressive rushing performance.  Similarly, Jehuu Caulcrick wore down the defense by plowing over players, leading to a beautiful display of thunder and lightning.  Devin “Showtime” Thomas lived up to his nickname, flying all over the field while receiving kickoffs, passes and handoffs.  The much maligned Spartan defense answered the call time and again, frustrating Indiana’s dynamic duo of Kellen Lewis and James Hardy and forcing sacks and incompletions.  They wrapped up tackles and swarmed the ball carrier all night long.  With the raucous crowd behind them all night long, they even scored a backbreaking touchdown.


What was most impressive was the coaching of Mark Dantonio and his staff.  The coach showed a will to win and rolled the dice on fourth down a number of times; including a brilliant fake field goal which stifled Indiana momentum.  Pat Narduzzi showed that he can adjust to the spread offense by working on tackling and designing a number of brilliant schemes.  Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell pounded the ball down the throat of the Indiana defense all night, never allowing the ball to be far away from one of his dynamic playmakers. The coaches showed the ability to adapt from week to week and address previous mistakes.  That means a lot, because the essence of football is learning from mistakes and adjusting.


The Spartans got better with Saturday night’s victory.  It will give them a new kind of confidence heading into Columbus for the showdown with the Buckeyes. The teacher against student showdown with Jim Tressel and Mark Dantonio will be discussed this week, but both of these coaches would rather just get down to business and have a hard hitting classic football game.  If history between the teams is any indication, we will have just that next Saturday.


For the time being, the Spartans can enjoy their homecoming victory and prepare for what lies ahead.  The students, fans and alumni can savor this win even longer, knowing that the homecoming loss monkey is finally off their backs.


Redemption for past homecoming heartbreaks happened boldly Saturday night.  Now it’s on to the ‘shoe.