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Defense Leading Way For Undefeated MSU
Posted Sep 16, 2007
Inside the numbers show that despite being pushed around by the bigger, more physical Pitt offensive line, without their key plays coming at key junctures in this game, the Spartans might have been staring at a 2-1 record instead of 3-0.
EAST LANSING - Off to a 3-0 start with winless
next on their schedule, the future looks bright for
. But things could have been looking different had it not been for MSU's opportunistic defense led by emerging star
Saint-Dic was a revelation on Saturday, virtually unblockable, wreaking havoc in the Pitt backfield pressuring the quarterback, causing turnovers and making big plays.
A look inside the numbers shows that MSU's defense played a pivotal part in their win. Saint-Dic's two sacks, one hurry and two forced fumbles.
matched MSU offensively almost step-for-step.
The Panthers rushed for 207 yards vs. MSU's 144. Pitt averaged 5.4 per carry while MSU ran for just 2.8 per carry. Pitt had 15 offensive first downs to MSU's 19. The only area MSU really outgained the Panthers was via the air where the Spartans put up 183-yards to just Pitt's 85.
While MSU wants to make a team one-dimensional, this was the opposite of what they normally try to accomplish. Defensive coordinators by nature, want to stop the run game and force the team to be passing only, not the other way around.
But the Spartans had trouble against the big physical Pittsburgh offensive line as GSN's beat writer Joe Torok believed and
had spoken to head coach
about earlier in the week.
Pitt was able control the clock for long stretches including an amazing 11-play 56-yard drive that consumed 10:03 off the clock and culminated in a Pitt field goal.
That's why Michigan State's big plays were so important, without the pick six by safety
(seven tackles, second for MSU), Otis Wiley's (five tackles) interception that set up a Caulcrick TD score, the two forced fumbles (one recovered by MSU that led to a
field goal) and a key sack by Saint-Dic, the outcome of this one would likely have been quite different.
MSU looks to be in good stead heading into South Bend against a team that is having trouble protecting a freshman quarterback and
Spartans Survive Penalty Fest, Win 17-13
Sep 15, 2007
AUDIO: Spartans Prepare for Battle, pt. 1
Sep 20, 2007
AUDIO: Spartans Prepare for Battle, pt. 2
Sep 20, 2007
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