Michigan State Overcomes Sluggish Start; Central Michigan Dark Horse in MAC West

By parmyjr22
Sep. 27, 2015

The Chippewas hung tight with the Spartans Saturday afternoon. CMU looks to be a contender in the MAC; MSU improves to 4-0.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Central Michigan Chippewas travelled to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans Saturday afternoon. The Chips were in the game until late in the fourth quarter – their defense kept the game tight. Gerald Holmes ran for two fourth quarter touchdowns helping the No. 2 ranked Spartans overcome a very sluggish first three quarters to defeat Central Michigan 30-10.

For the Chippewas

Quarterback Cooper Rush had yet another impressive game against the Spartans. Rush went 26-39 for 285 yards and a touchdown. Rush has not completed nearly 70% of his pass attempts on the season for nearly 1300 yards to go along with his 6 touchdown passes.

The Chippewas were able to keep themselves in the game against the No. 2 Spartans until late in the fourth quarter when MSU was able to score with 8:37 remaining in the game. While their non-conference schedule to begin the season has not been friendly to Central Michigan – currently sitting at 1-3 on the season – there have been quite a few positives from these games that the Chips were supposed to be hammered. The Chips were able to stay close in their game against Oklahoma State and then took the game against the Orange into overtime and were tight with MSU until the fourth quarter.

CMU was down 17-0 early against the Spartans – two blocked field goal attempts played into the situation. After a late touchdown at the end of the second half and a field goal early in the third quarter the Chippewas were able to pull within one score of the Spartans. However; untimely penalties and a turnover killed the Chippewas push at another upset against Michigan State.

Heading into the season it looked as though Central Michigan was in a rebuilding season under their new head coach Bonamego. Surprisingly – even though they are sitting at 1-3 to begin their season – the Chips have been competitive in their three games played against power conferences.

The Chippewas have the possibility of being a dark horse in the MAC West. The Chips will be tested once their Conference Schedule begins – they will have to take on Northern Illinois for their homecoming this coming week and then hit the road against in-state rival Western Michigan before heading to Toledo. If the Chippewas can win in their MAC opener they will have a long uphill battle for the remainder of the season, but will stand a chance at a MAC West Division title or even a MAC Championship.

Cooper Rush has proven he has what it takes. He has been able to throw the ball well against powerful defenses. The Central Michigan offense was able to convert on multiple third down and long attempts against the Spartans on Saturday – at one point during the game they had earned more than 125 yards on third down alone. If the Chippewas can improve upon their running game they will be a true contender in the MAC West.

For the Spartans

Connor Cook looked rough to start the game. Cook finished the afternoon 11-19 for 143 yards with one touchdown. Cook started the afternoon with a 42 yard pass on his first attempt as the Spartans marched down the field for their first score of the afternoon on a Madre London 6 yard touchdown run.

The Spartans were able to block two field goals attempted by the Chippewas – which could have had the Spartans on the ropes of an upset had they been converted by CMU. Shilique Calhoun had a monster game for the Spartans recording one of the blocked field goals, as well as 2.5 sacks and a pass defended/broken up.

After being up 17-0 nearing the end of the first half, the Spartans defense was unable to stop the Chippewas on two scoring drives bring the game within one score. The Spartans offense was stopped regularly by the Chips and was unable to score until late in the fourth quarter. Michigan State decided to bring Gerald Holmes who promptly scored two fourth quarter touchdowns putting the nail in the coffin for the Chippewas.

Michigan State continued its streak of games scoring 30 points or more – bring the streak up to 12 consecutive games. The Spartans are currently sitting at 4-0 on the season and remain the No. 2 ranked team in the Nation.

Statistics

Passing:

Cooper Rush (CMU) 26-39, 285 yards, 1 TD

Conner Cook (MSU) 11-19, 143 yards, 1 TD

Rushing:

Devon Spalding (CMU) 15 carries, 77 yards

Madre London (MSU) 15 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD

Receiving:

Jesse Kroll (CMU) 6 receptions, 86 yards

Macgarrett Kings Jr. (MSU) 2 receptions, 46 yards

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