Michigan State Football: 2016 was a season of inches

Michigan State football had a poor season, but the 3-9 record was not indicative of how close the Spartans were to success.

Michigan State was closer than most people think this past year. Sure 3-9 is bad, but the Spartans can easily bounce back next season and the mistakes are correctable.

Must Read: MSU Football: End of season report card for 2016

It is easy to find the Michigan trolls these days. They seem to pop up with any MSU article written or appear to grant anyone reading a slanderous point of view.

Are their statements true? No.

In fact, Michigan was close to success even during their 3-9 season in 2008. Ouch, that probably hurts the trolls, but believe it or not, they were close as well. Sure, it’s excellent to have Jim Harbaugh, but he fell short of the College Football Playoff himself with a few missed plays and then they finished in third place — again.

Michigan State’s 3-9 season was tough to swallow for fans and players, alike. However, it’s a tiny mark in the 10-year career at State for Mark Dantonio.

Football is a game of momentum and inches. When I was a high school coach, I watched a number of times as one play lifted my players or dug a hole for us. Yes, one play. Those Michigan squads were close to beating MSU in the last 7-10 years, in some cases. Sometimes there was a blowout (for MSU), but others it’s a Denard Robinson interception or Jeremy Langford long run that ices the game. But again, just one play.

There were so many one plays this past year that it is difficult to isolate them all. But Tyler O’Connor being intercepted late against OSU was one. The failed two-point conversation was critical. Michigan State controlled PSU in the first half and if (I mean if) the Spartans get touchdowns instead of field goals, then it’s a different outcome — especially if Damion Terry stays in the game.

It is the little things.

If you think I’m wrong then replay the Texans vs. Patriots game. There was a pass to Will Fuller late in that game that was dropped. It would have been a touchdown instead of a punt and would have changed the course of the game. It would have provided the momentum swing the Texans desperately needed instead it was a Patriots win.

Michigan State had numerous opportunities this season to ice games or to snag the momentum, but failed.

It’s this reason that Dantonio listed the corrections for next season the way he did. They were not as far off as their record indicates. There is talent on the defensive line, the game against OSU and even Michigan proved that because they hung with them. The Illinois, Indiana and even Wisconsin games prove this. Yes, the momentum can always go the other direction and that is why MSU has benefited from it in the past.

One thing this season saw was Dantonio try and fail on numerous trick plays. Why? Because as he said they needed a spark and if it worked, well, it’s a different season. These plays in the past won games at Northwestern (Mouse Trap), Norte Dame (Little Giants), and there are other little plays that were made. The 3-9 record appears like a huge gulf to success, but the Spartans are closer than media, trolls, and people think.

Sure the troll will scoff and bring up some ridiculous argument, but what has Harbaugh won other than recruiting wars so far? Nothing. He never won a conference title at Stanford nor has he at Michigan. Sorry, but those are the facts.

Yes, he’s won at San Fransisco, but lost the Super Bowl. Technically, for the Spartan fan: Where’s the threat? I’m not feeling nervous, because Michigan won another recruiting war. That’s par for the course.

So the UM sloppy is happy Harbaugh won Michigan (in recruiting). OK, well call me when they actually win a Big Ten Title and then I’ll consider congratulating them. Personally, I don’t see them doing that since Harbaugh was unable to do it at Stanford. Michigan State is still selling results.

Football is always a game of inches and plays. New York Giants could have beaten the Green Bay Packers last week. However, the Giants players admitted that, after the Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary to end the first half the wind was taken out of their sails. Yes, one play. It was a big one, but that is all it takes often. The MSU season was filled with those one plays going the other way, when in the past they went towards the Spartans.

The Spartans will be back next year and Dantonio and Co. will have their players ready and new player leadership in place. I do not foresee this happening again. Therefore, Wolverines should be careful how much smack talk they do, especially since they will have a young team next year with a QB who did not light it up this past season. Brian Lewerke caused many problems for a dominate Michigan defense, therefore, it only reasons that the Spartans’ time is on it’s way.

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