Mark Dantonio, says Michigan State needs to make plays in the fourth quarter

Embed from Getty Images It seems just about certain the Michigan State Spartans football team will enter the season with a top-five defense. A defense that returns nearly every starter from last seasons disappointment. Yet, the defense does not need fixed.

The Michigan State offense was woefully bad, awful at times. The Spartans offense finished in the bottom-10 in almost every statistical category in 2018. Michigan State ranked eighth nationally on defense, allowing 17.2 points per-game. The Spartans offense however, ranked 125 out of 129, scoring 18.7 points per-game.

In Tuesday’s media meet and greet Dantonio was blunt, “we left some plays on the field, that is the difference between 13-1 and 7-6.”  He is correct. “We were in games in the fourth quarter, but we did not score, we need to score more points.”

During the 2018 season the Michigan State Spartans were outscored 104-49 in the fourth quarter of their 13 games. In contrast, the Spartans scored 194 points the first three quarters, while holding opponents to 119 points during the same three quarters.

While the fourth quarter scoring stats do not paint the whole picture it gives glimpse of what went wrong for the Spartans last season.  A quarterback playing with an injured shoulder as well as an offensive line that had injuries and caused inconsistent play also was a factor.

The offensive line issues lead to a poor run game as well. Injuries are part of every sport. What seemed to be exposed was Michigan State’s lack of quality depth. That is at the heart of the offensive woes.

Mark Dantonio for whatever reason shuffled his coaching staff instead of infusing new blood into his program. That will not hide the depth issue for the Spartans at left tackle, right guard and running back.

This is what the focus for the Spartans coaches and players will be during spring practice.

Big Ten basketball tournament championships bring Michigan/ Michigan State round III

Embed from Getty Images Michigan State has the opportunity to continue the season dominance over in state rival Michigan. This time the stakes are much higher. A number one NCAA tournament seeding is on the line. For the Wolverines they hope the third time is the charm.

The Wolverines and Spartans clashed in the Big Ten regular season just last Sunday. With Michigan State taking the second game of the seasons. The Spartans finished 2-0 vs Michigan.

The two Big Ten schools have seen each other plenty of times through the years. Now meeting for the third time in less than a month, They play for bragging rights, potential basketball recruits, Big Ten championship and a top seed and first round bye of the NCAA tournament as well. The stakes for the two schools has never been this high.

Spartans head coach Tom Izzo, is tasked with finding new wrinkles to help the Spartans hit the trifecta against Michigan. While Wolverines head coach John Beilein is going to have to do something he did not do the first two meeting. Make in-game adjustments. Something Izzo is a master of.

Michigan players are saying they have a chance for revenge. Needless to say the coach and fans will take solid play from the Maize and Blue. While Michigan State is going to have to play above their heads. It is extremely difficult to beat a team two times, let alone three.

It is hard not to lean towards Izzo and his gang of Green and White. But Michigan does have a punchers chance. It is going to be another classic game. Fouls and rebounds will be the storyline.

On a cool March, St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, two long time rivals will meet at 3:30 pm. The Big Ten’s elite. Did anyone really think it would end differently?