On Saturday, September 8, Michigan State dismantled Central Michigan by the score of 41-7. The game was much less a battle than State's season opener, during which they snuck past Boise State 17-13.
In an all-around win, most everyone on the Spartans roster benefits. And although it is difficult to find ways to improve after such a convincing win, coach Mark Dantonio will surely highlight a few ideas before State's Week 3 showdown with Notre Dame.
Offensively, the Spartans were efficient and dominant. The team scored at least seven points in all four quarters, highlighted by a 17-point second period. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell completed 20-of-31 passes for 275 yards and two scores.
Teams that are successful throughout the course of a game have an easier time wearing down their opponent. Michigan State is built for a grind-it-out style of game that favors gritty defense and offensive persistence.
Led by Maxwell, the Spartans converted eight of 16 third downs and their only fourth down (via ESPN). They moved the ball at will and controlled the pace of the game from the starting kickoff.
Additionally, stud running back Le'Veon Bell turned in 70 yards on 18 rushes with two touchdowns. The balance between the pass and run game allowed Michigan State to possess the ball for 35 of 60 minutes and let its top defensive talent take over the ballgame.
Central Michigan was only able to 245 total yards to the Spartans' 495. They also turned the ball over three times to State's swarming defensive effort, twice intercepted and once by fumble.
Stud lineman William Gholston was a factor as usual, recording a sack on Chippewas QB Ryan Radcliff in a defensive effort that included three fourth-down stops.
Overall, the Spartans dominated all facets of the game, ranging from rushing yards per attempt to time of possession to turnover differential. Simply put, Michigan State rolled Central Michigan and left plenty of evidence to support why it may be the strongest team in the Big Ten to date.
So, what does it all mean?
This matchup was nothing short of a cupcake for one of the Big Ten's best. Central Michigan did not pose a threat to the Spartans at any point, as it was clear from opening kickoff who would emerge the victor.
MSU took care of business against a significantly disadvantaged opponent and seems to be the team to beat in the Big Ten after two weeks of regular season play.