After a Disappointing 2012 Campaign, Spartans Ready for Redemption in 2013
7-6 wasn’t the outcome Mark Dantonio expected in 2012. Michigan State was coming off 2 of its best seasons in recent years and returned the core nucleus of their team. But a handful of close losses shattered their dreams of reaching the Rose Bowl. Now it’s time for the Spartans to put that disappointing season behind them and move onto 2013. They return 8 starters on offense and 8 starters on defense. But they will have to replace Leveon Bell, a workhorse running back that was an integral part of their offense the past few seasons.
No one will ever mistake Mark Dantonio for Mother Theresa. Integrity certainly isn’t a word in his vocabulary. But the guy is a solid football coach. He’s done a great job at a school that hadn’t done a lot of winning prior to his arrival. Michigan State has always been sort of a hidden gem in college football. The potential to win big has always been there even with the University of Michigan nearby. But for some reason coaches have been unable to win at a high level there. Dantonio has done better than most and has his team in position to compete for a conference title and get to a BCS bowl game.
The Michigan State Offense
Improved Passing Game is the Focus
It’s no secret to anyone – Michigan State’s passing game must improve if the Spartans will get back to the double-digit win standard Dantonio has set. But that certainly isn’t a guarantee. Andrew Maxwell was far too inconsistent last year. Now that he’s a senior and has a year of starting experience under his belt, there are no more excuses. Its time for him to produce and step up and be the leader he was expected to be last year. He has a great arm and incredible talent, but he must cut down on the mistakes.
Yes, Michigan State is going to have to find a replacement for Leveon Bell who rushed for over 1,600 yards in 2012. But new running backs Nick Hill and Jeremy Langford will be running behind one of the Big-10’s best offensive lines. So it’s all up to Maxwell to lead this offense. They struggled mightily last season. It was a horrendous offensive season for Michigan State. If Maxwell finds his rhythm, expect the Spartan offense to drastically improve.
The Michigan State Defense
Tons of Talent Coming Back from One of the Nation’s Best Defenses
You can’t fault the defense for Michigan State’s underachieving team last year. They were amongst the best in country. There’s no reason to expect that to change this coming season. Michigan State returns 8 starters from the nation’s 4th ranked defense. The Spartans don’t have a fierce, dominating pass rusher that opposing quarterbacks fear, but they have 11 starters that are physical and fundamentally sound. This is a disciplined defense with athletic freaks and hard hitters. If Michigan State can put together a halfway decent offense, they’ll win the Legends Division of the Big-10 going away.
Michigan State will field one of the most experienced defenses in the nation. They’re going to be very tough to run the football on thanks to linebackers Denicos Allen and Max Bullough – both seniors. They’re also quite difficult to beat deep with safeties Isaiah Lewis and Curtis Drummond on the field for the Spartans.
A Final Word on the 2013 Michigan State Spartans
The schedule sets up nicely for a BCS run. If Michigan State can go into South Bend and knock off Notre Dame on September 21, don’t be surprised if the Spartans are unbeaten at 8-0 heading into their clash with hated in-state rival Michigan on November 2. Michigan State should win anywhere from 8 to 10 games. With a bit of luck, they could surpass the 10-win mark. It should be a great year for the Spartans. Of course, that’s what everyone thought last year…