Bend over, don’t break, but is that enough?
The Michigan defense was able to contain the full power of Michigan’s No. 4 attack in the first half of the competition. The Spartans managed to stop in the red zone during Michigan’s first goalscorer, forcing a goal from alumni Jake Moody to score.
With five goals from the field, Moody led the team in the scoring. While the loss was definitive for the Spartans, had the red zone defense not been as strong as it was, the result would be much more crooked.
“I think we did better in the red zone,” said Xavier Henderson of the fifth year of safety. “Probably the most important thing we did wrong was our solution.”
Five stops on the third relegation from MSU defense scored 15 points from the shots from the game. If they had failed, Wolverines could have added a maximum of 35 points to their score.
“The kids were playing hard,” said head coach Mel Tucker. “We endured the red zone and this is what we have to do, keep them on a lower level.”
There is no doubt that the defensive results have made the game competitive at half time and that they have done well compared to other games this season, but if the Spartans want to be a competitive program and have seasons like 2021, they will have to stay on the defensive . be more frequent and come from all over the field.
The problem with defense is that she has shown time and time again that she can stop on the third raise and that she can change the game, but only in the red zone where scoring is almost inevitable.
Sure, a field goal is a much better defensive result than a touchdown, but if the MSU had stopped earlier while driving while Michigan was still in the field, the Spartans wouldn’t even have to worry about it.
Of course, for a match to be competitive the offensive would have to work much better than it actually is, but from a strictly defensive point of view MSU’s third stop time has been the weak point all season and was fully visible against Michigan.
Even when Michigan was able to stop outside the red zone, it still couldn’t make a stop that was beyond Moody’s goal. His fifth and final field goal was 54 yards.
While the “bend don’t break” approach had little success for the team last season, this year it failed. The problem is, while the defense struggled last year, the offensive was consistent and had both a reliable run and passing play. The running game was almost nonexistent this season and the passing game was not consistent.
In the game alone against Michigan, the Wolverines had 276 yards of run, while the Spartans had only 37. The Spartans had 215 yards of passes compared to 167, but except for one touchdown they were not able to consistently combine strokes that resulted in a trip to the end zone. In addition to five goals from the field, the Wolverines were able to put together their explosive games at the right time and get two trips to the end zone.
As the offensive doesn’t have the production it had last season, and a similar pattern has developed over the last few games, the defense cannot “see the light” once the opposing team reaches the end zone.
Tucker has consistently emphasized the need to play 60 minutes of complementary football and defensive football, which means stops must be made from every inch of the pitch if the team is hoping to return to the win column.
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