Happy Thanksgiving everyone. There's a lot to be thankful for on this turkey day: Penn State is going bowling, the shootyhoopers are 5-1, and of course there's football on the TV. A perfect holiday, except for one minor detail. Last year we got a hearty helping of NFL starting quarterback Matt McGloin for dessert. Not only is he a backup this year, but the Raiders aren't even playing today. Here's a guide to getting your fix of Moxie this year (oh yeah some stuff about Michigan State too).
This Season - Michigan State: 9-2 (6-1); Matt McGloin: 12-19, 129 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
When it was announced in the late offseason that Ohio State's Braxton Miller was going to miss the entire 2014 season, all of the conference's College Football Playoff hopes rested with the defending B1G champions. Even after a second half capitulation at Oregon in week two, Sparty still looked like the best the conference had to offer. Then J.T. Barrett happened. Ohio State put the whoopin' on a strong Spartan defense to the tune of 49 points, and out the door went Mark Dantonio's hopes of a second straight Rose Bowl appearance, much less a spot in the top four.
McGloin lost his job to second round draft pick Derek Carr this offseason, and he's only played in garbage time against the Dolphins in Week 4. Was that a mistake? You tell me. Derek Carr won his first game as a Raiders starting quarterback in his eleventh try. Matt McGloin won his first start. The numbers don't lie.
It's a testament to the unpredictability that Michigan State won't have a shot at the CFB playoff, because they're the only team in FBS with a top 10 offense (7th) and defense (8th) in yards per game. The offense has improved dramatically from last season, when the Spartans finished 81st in total offense. Yet, here they are with two losses. Football is dumb.
Connor Cook hasn't thrown quite as much as last year and it's made him a much more efficient signal caller. He's currently completing the same percentage of his passes as he did last year (58.7%), but he's also averaging two more yards per attempt. Penn State's defense hasn't faced a pro-style quarterback as good as Cook this season. His top target, Tony Lippett has broken the 1,000-yard mark this season on a mere 56 catches. That's a 19.1 ypc average.
Jeremy Langford would be considered a star in every other conference in America. Unfortunately for him, he's got Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah and Tevin Coleman to compete with in the B1G. Langford has been a fantasy machine over the last five weeks, in which he's rushed for 100 yards and at least two TDs in every game. He's the workhorse in Michigan State's backfield, setting up tired defenses for Nick Hill and Delton Williams to burn. Each second-string back has a touchdown run of 75 yards or longer on the year.
Moxie Substitute #1: Take your fully-cooked turkey, stick a sweet potato on one of the wingtips, and re-enact this at the dinner table.
Pat Narduzzi is one of the hottest names in coaching circles for good reason. Michigan State's defense is one of the nation's best yet again. Shilique Calhoun leads a defensive front that averages over three sacks a game. For comparison's sake, Ohio State sacks the quarterback less than that. This defense is monstrous, to put it simply. The Spartans lead the nation in turnover margin and have taken the ball away from the opposition 31 times in 2014. #Pray4ChristianHackenberg
Moxie Substitute #2: Bring mediocre dishes to Thanksgiving for years, then when your Grandma hosts for the final time bring a Turducken and change your entire family's perception of your abilities. Congratulations! You have cemented yourself a place among family lore for generations to come.
If there is a slight weakness on this team, it's special teams. Kicker Michael Geiger is just 12-19 on the year, and Sparty has returned neither a kick or punt for a touchdown this season. Small victories.
Moxie Substitute #3: Let your brother-in-law beat you up before the family's annual Turkey Bowl and he'll divorce your sister, never to see another Thanksgiving. Although next year's Turkey Bowl will be cancelled due to your uncle's bad behavior.
Last Week: 45-3 W vs Rutgers
Pile it on, Sparty. That's the good stuff.
Blog You Should Also Be Reading This Week
The Only Colors, where they have much better information than the half-assed stuff you get from this garbage article.
Fun Fact How Will You Celebrate Matt McGloin This Thanksgiving?
Please let us know how you and your family will add a little moxie into your holiday this year.