Got to watch the MSU-Illinois game on TV and I think it’s time to start talking about MSU QB Drew Stanton as a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy. His numbers this year have been phenomenal as he’s led the Spartans to a 4-0 start. In those 4 games, here are his numbers:
Kent State: 22 for 29 for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Hawaii: 21 for 26 for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Notre Dame: 16 for 27 for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 1 running TD.
Illinois: 20 for 26 for 259 yards and 5 touchdowns, and he didn’t play the last 20 minutes of the game.
Overall: 73.1% completion rate, 13 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown, and 2 interceptions. If he continues to put up numbers anywhere near those, he’s a legitimate Heisman candidate. The next two weeks will decide the whole season, with games against Michigan (at home) and Ohio State (away). If they win those two games, they probably win the Big Ten and will undoubtedly be ranked in top 5. And if that happens, Stanton will be talked about as a serious Heisman finalist. And he’s only a junior, so he’s sure to be hyped for a Heisman next year regardless.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much faith in the coaching staff or the defense to help them win tough games. John L. Smith is a great play caller and offensive innovator, but his teams tend to play undisciplined and he tends to freeze up in big games. Last year’s Michigan game and this year’s Notre Dame game are great examples. He got a big lead in both and then suddenly became very conservative, taking the ball out of Stanton’s hands and playing a soft zone on defense. It’s stupid. If you got a big lead by playing aggressively on both sides of the ball, then keep playing aggressively on both sides of the ball. If your defense got them in a 3rd and 12 situation by bringing an extra man on the pass rush, then don’t suddenly stop doing that on third down and give the QB time to find a receiver. If your QB is hitting on 70% of his passes and marching the team down the field, keep doing it until they show they can stop it. I was happy to see that today they didn’t let up on Illinois when they had them down big, they kept playing aggressively. I hope that’s a sign of things to come.