October 2, 2012

Consistency on ground critical in games ahead

EAST LANSING - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and his football team are eager to move on from their one-point loss to Ohio State.

But many of the teaching points gained by the Spartans in their 17-16 setback against the Buckeyes will guide them as they prepare for their first Big Ten road game at Indiana.

The biggest lesson learned by the Spartans against Ohio State was how important having an effective running game is to winning in the Big Ten. Thirty-four rushing yards on 22 carries against the Buckeyes was not good enough.

"We have to stay more balanced on offense, have to be able to run the football," Dantonio said. "Have to say why we didn't succeed overall offensively is because we didn't run the football and stay balanced. Threw the football well enough, had a couple drops, but had zero turnovers, so I thought that was a positive."

Michigan State has averaged 228 yards on the ground in its three victories. The Spartans have averaged 42 yards on the ground in each of its two losses.

"Against the two defenses we lost to, Notre Dame and Ohio State, we didn't run it effectively," Dantonio said. "We need to be balanced. We threw the ball better this game. I thought Maxwell was very solid, as I said. "But to have a complete game, you've got to stay balanced, not turn it over. Is it frustrating? Is that the question? Yeah. It's always frustrating when you don't meet your goals or win a football game. It eats at you and is frustrating. You recognize the problem and go to work on the problem."

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