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Kickoff Classic Recap

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Brogowicz, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Brogowicz

    Brogowicz Walk On

    Apr 20, 2011
    Carolina entered Spartan Stadium as the defending champs - lead by All-World HB Marcus Lattimore - and a 2 point favorite. Carolina lost some key play makers on offense (starting QB, super-star WR), a couple key guys on defense and were left with a young, in-experienced offensive line. The Spartans also took heavy casualties in the offseason graduating several key contributors and losing a handful of underclassmen to the NFL - most notably All-Americans Edwin Baker and Jerel Worthy. While the MSU passing game looked to take a step back this season, the running game looked to improve behind a much improved Le'Veon Bell (+7 to 91) and an offensive line that lost just one starter.

    Carolina lost the toss and started the game with the ball. They came up just short of a first down and were forced to punt. MSU moved the ball a little, but was forced to kick back to SC. SC struggled with turnovers and threw their first of the game, which setup an MSU drive that resulted in their only TD of the game and a 7-0 MSU lead. The second quarter saw INTs from both teams and several punts before MSU added a FG near the end of the half to increase their lead to 10-0.

    MSU received the kick in the 2nd half, but their 2nd INT of the game gave the Gamecocks the ball deep in their own zone. While MSU had done a commendable job bottling up Lattimore, a poor defensive play call allowed Lattimore to get outside and a broken tackle set him free for the 41-yard score. Carolina was on the board and down 3 at 10-7.

    Both teams traded possessions from there until MSU got the ball with about 4 minutes left. They were able to convert for a few first downs while chewing clock and forcing SC to use their timeouts. The MSU drive stalled with about a minute left, which gave SC the ball back at their 20 with no timeouts. SC was able to convert a couple key plays and (perhaps) their lone reception of the game (1-10 for 26 yards and 4 INTs), which setup a 1st and 10 near the MSU 35. SC would take a sack to push them back and kill some much-needed time from the clock. They managed to regain those yards on 3rd down, but were left with a 57-yard FG to tie the game. Understanding their limits, SC elected to throw on 4th down and the pass was broken up.

    Both new QBs struggled in this game (MSU went 7-16 for 111 and 2 INTs). Lattimore finished with strong numbers (21-145 and 2 TDs), but the 4 turnovers nullified all but one of those drives for SC. Le'Veon Bell didn't finish with great numbers (31-111 and no scores), but helped to setup favorable down and distance situations for the Spartans.

    Coach Dantonio had this to say after the game "We're happy that we came away with the win, but we're not very happy with the way our offense played. Our defense was great and kept an explosive play-maker from dominating the game, but our young guys on offense didn't execute the way we do in practice every day. We had 5 key drops in the passing game and we weren't able to achieve the type of balance we need to open up running lanes for our backs. We were luck today, but will need to play better to achieve our goals for this season."

    MSU hosts Central Michigan in week 2 while South Carolina looks to rebound against Duke.

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