(Killing time until the Spartans Weblog Midnight Madness Week Blogtacular, Featuring a Very Special Guest, Who is Probably Not Named Steve arrives.)
Continuing our new weekly tradition, here are MSU’s first down stats from yesterday:
- They ran the ball 19 times and passed it 8 times on first down–consistent with the roughly 2-to-1 ratios from all the non-Cal games.
- I’ve classified one play, a gain of 9 yards by B.J. Cunningham on MSU’s first drive, as a passing play, even though it shows up in the box score as a running play. It was a lateral from Hoyer to Cunningham against one-on-one coverage with a good-sized cushion. MSU used that play effectively several times when Northwestern had eight men in the box.
- MSU gained 75 yards on the 19 rushing attempts (3.9 yards/rush). They were more effective in the first half, when presumably Northwestern was more wary of MSU passing, rushing for 55 yards on 11 attempts (5.0 yards/rush). Northwestern knew the run was coming in the second half and held MSU to 20 yards on 8 attempts (2.5 yards/rush).
- MSU didn’t meet my goal of gaining at least 4 yards on two of their first three first-down rushing attempts. But they did gain at least 4 yards on 4 of their first 7 first-down rushing attempts.
- Hoyer was 5-7 for 91 yards (13.0 yards/attempts) on first down passes. Accounting for a sack for a loss of 11 yards, MSU gained 80 yards on 8 first down passing plays (10.0 yards/play). Hopefully, that helps keep opposing defenses honest against the run going forward.