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41 Random Thoughts on Michigan State

Random Musings on the weekend that was with Sparty

Heather Weikel

On Saturday afternoon, the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans engaged in a contest of American football in East Lansing, Michigan. The Nittany Lions emerged victorious, 28-7. I have several thoughts, which are set forth randomly below:

  1. The James Franklin Way is to preach 1-0 every single week. It sounds a lot like the mottos we’ve always heard around here.
  2. “Take care of the little things, and the big things take care of themselves.”
  3. “You’re never as good as you think you are when you win, and never as bad as you think you are when you lose.”
  4. “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.”
  5. I could go on, and on, and on...
  6. That attitude is a staple of great coaches, those who are never satisfied with the outcome of a game, even one they’ve won.
  7. And that’s all good. It makes sense. We’re won a lot of game with the James Franklin Way and its predecessors.
  8. Even so, this one has must have been a little sweeter. This one wasn’t just 1-0. This one was an “exorcise the demons” kinda day.
  9. And boy was it a good day for it.
  10. Not a goodday in any sense of the word. In fact, it was, at various points, a heavy downpour.
  11. But isn’t that what you want in one of these games? Face the opponent on their field, on their terms, and beat ‘em. That’s how you overcome.
  12. Last week, people viewed Mark Dantonio as some kind of wizard. Every time Penn State plays him, the weather’s terrible, the game is awful, and the most unexpected things happen.
  13. Even wizards run of out magic eventually.
  14. Brian Lewerke has been the guy with the magic against Penn State. Some people even went so far as to say he was a better QB than Trace McSorley.
  15. Personally, I see him more like Sparty’s version of Zack Mills. A talented, imperfect player who was good enough to accumulate stats and make some memories.
  16. It’s just unfortunate that some of those memories were completions to Felton Davis against a top 10 team.
  17. This win was wholly satisfying. It was never really in doubt, and after the last several years, that’s a welcome change.
  18. Sean Clifford’s Saturday stats on the whole aren’t that impressive at first glance. But his first half stats tell the tale, and he helped put this game out of reach quickly.
  19. Cliff’s taken more heat for a guy that started his career 8-0 with multiple top 25 wins (including multiple big road wins) than anyone should ever take.
  20. Yes, he has a lot to learn. He can absolutely get better.
  21. And he has gotten better each week.
  22. I’m not sure whether we’ve seen his ceiling. But when he’s good, he’s legit great.
  23. Think about that first touchdown pass to Pat Freiermuth. Perfect touch. Incredible toss. Dropped it in a bucket. What other PSU QB in the last 25 years has made that throw?
  24. That pick though...whoa boy. That was ugly. Thing is, the best part about Cliff is about how well he takes care of the football. It’s impressive for a first year starter.
  25. Noah Cain leaving with an injury could’ve been a blow, if we didn’t (say it with me now) “have four good backs.”
  26. I’m convinced Devyn Ford is the tailback of the future. He just looks like a big time back and has the ability to get big yards.
  27. It’s amazing how different all of these running backs are from each other, and how effective each of them can be at any moment.
  28. This is the point where I tell you that I’m confident that Ricky Slade is going to pull a huge play out of nowhere in the next few weeks to win us a game.
  29. Anyone in August who thought we’d finish a 3 game stretch that included a night game at Kinnick, Michigan, and Michigan State magic at 3-0, raise your hand.
  30. I want to see all the commenters who are liars.
  31. I can’t figure out whether the flags on KJ Hamler’s called back returns the last few weeks have been good calls, or if they were incidental to the play and he would have scored either way. If it’s the latter, those teammates need better situational awareness.
  32. I appreciate the physicality of Penn State’s defensive backfield. Some of these calls against them are ticky tacky hand checks (see John Reid), but I’d rather them play aggressive and get flagged every now and then than get beat by receivers.
  33. There’s a toughness factor here reminiscent of the really great PSU defenses.
  34. If Micah Parsons keeps this up for another year, he’s going to be among the greats to play here. In the unlikely event he stays for 2, he’ll be the best to ever do it.
  35. You can tell this game “mattered” more in terms of emotion because emotion got the better of these guys on several occasions.
  36. Not thrilled with Antonio Shelton’s conduct. I do appreciate the direct apology shortly thereafter.
  37. I don’t expect perfection. I expect effort and thoughtfulness.
  38. The less said about the Land Grant Shelf, the better.
  39. Very enjoyable time to be a Penn Stater. A bye week is a nice benefit here, and a date against undefeated Minnesota is another opportunity for a top 20 win.
  40. Enjoy the week off!
  41. We are...