Week 2: Michigan St. (1-0, 0-0 Big 10) vs. Florida Atlantic (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
17th-ranked Sparty goes into today’s home game against Florida Atlantic coming off a 28-6 home win over Div. 1-BB Youngstown State last Saturday. It was a win that was nowhere near the easy blowout I expected. Seven first-half penalties and an offense that got off to a surprisingly slow start resulted in a mostly sluggish game that apparently started a few hours too early for the players’ liking.
A positive from last week’s tilt–besides the solid defense–was the Cousins-Cunningham connection on offense. Cunningham had career highs of 9 catches and 130 yards, to go with a touchdown. Despite that bit of success, Sparty would still best be served to literally run the ball down Atlantic’s throats with its very good trio of running backs in Edwin Baker, Le’Veon Bell and Larry Caper. That three-headed monster along with the Spartans good (?!) passing game should cause all sorts of problems for an Atlantic defense that didn’t do much to stop Florida during the Gators’ 41-3 home win last Saturday. Sparty’s inexperienced but talented defense should have no problems shutting down Atlantic’s offense, especially when they attempt to run the ball. Their top two running backs combined for 29 yards and 21 carries against the Gators and shouldn’t fare much better against a Sparty defense anchored by a very good front four.
Sparty head coach Mark Dantonio was not pleased with his team’s subpar effort last Saturday against Jim Tressel’s old squad, and will certainly have the guys ready to go. Florida Atlantic needs to be punched in the mouth immediately to avoid a repeat performance of last Saturday, and hopefully Sparty will deliver.