• Shawn Liverance

Shawn On Sports: College Blues

Michigan College Football Keeps Failing to Define Itself

Mark Dantonio in 2016 | Maize & Blue Nation CC BY 2.0

So, college football fans across the state of Michigan, how are you feeling?


Honestly, I would be alarmed if I was either a Michigan or Michigan State fan.


At this point in the season both teams should know who they are and how to use their personnel. But, I just don't see it.


Let’s start with No. 16 ranked Michigan, which earned a 42-25 over Illinois on Saturday. The Wolverines looked to be in cruise control up 28-3 in the opening half, but inexplicably allowed Illinois to score 25 unanswered points that cut Michigan’s lead to 28-25 early in the final quarter. Remember, this was an Illinois team that lost to Eastern Michigan. Granted quarterback Shea Patterson ran the ball for a crucial first down and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass two plays later to give Michigan a two-possession lead again midway thru the final quarter, sparing Jim Harbaugh the worst loss of his coaching career at Michigan.


But, how can a team that dominated Iowa defensively a week earlier allow 25 straight points? It doesn’t help that U-M fumbled three more times against Illinois, making that 17 fumbles on the season. They put the ball on the ground Saturday night in Happy Valley and the Nittany Lions will roll the Wolverines. Michigan gained almost 300 yards rushing Saturday, yet they needed a drive midway through the fourth quarter to ice the game?


Something is still missing from their offense, and it’s not talent. Harbaugh has said that he believes the offense is headed in the right direction. Now they will have to prove it. What I saw Saturday doesn’t bode well for the future, considering Michigan's next two opponents are top-10 teams. I think Michigan has glaring issues, but they might pale in comparison to what’s going on at Michigan State.


The Spartans are coming off a complete mauling at the hands of No. 8 Wisconsin 38-0. This came a week after losing to Ohio State. In those two games, the Spartans have been beaten by a combined score of 72-10. This team is a complete mess right now. The offensive line is a disaster, and that doesn’t help quarterback Brian Lewerke who was horrible on Saturday. Lewerke missed receivers all game with inaccurate passes. On one play, he didn’t even notice a wide-open Cody White in the endzone. Lewerke completed 7-of-16 passes for 53 yards with no touchdowns and a pick-six interception. Michigan State totaled only 149 yards and seven first downs against Wisconsin. The offense’s ineptness lead to a very testy Coach Mark Dantonio after Saturday’s loss.


Dantonio faced questions about Michigan State's lack of offensive production after deciding to keep his coaching staff intact.


"I don't think we ask those questions right now," Dantonio said. "We're six, seven games into the schedule. I think that's sort of a dumb-a-- question, quite honestly."


Honestly, that was a legitimate question. Why are we seven games into the season and the Spartans have no resemblance of an offense, even after Dantonio switched around his coaching staff this past season to address the offensive side of the ball? It’s sad to say, but it's clear Michigan State is not a top ten college football program nor even top 20. Penn State surely is, and they come to Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 26. after hosting Michigan on Saturday night.


It sure looks like things will only get worse for MSU.

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