I just got home from watching the game with friends where I stood in the same place in a room for basically the entire game.
That's how much this game meant.
That's also how superstitious I get in big games, but that's a conversation for another day. Right now, all I can think about is this game and the good and bad that came from it. The good obviously outweighed the bad, as MSU ended a 14-game losing streak by defeating the LSU Tigers, 34-29. Here are ten thoughts:
1. Dak Prescott proved the hype tonight. If Dak was a pocket passer, I don't think he would necessarily stick out in a crowd of middle-of-the-pack college QBs, but his ability to create plays with his legs is what separates him into another category. His 56-yard TD run to answer after a big fumble to open the second half was huge, and it perfectly showed how deadly he can be running the ball. Despite that, I think the bigger play was the 74 yarder to Jameon that he created by flushing out of the pocket. Dak turned down a chance to run on that play to the right when the hole closed up, and he instead averted his eyes down field where he saw Jameon wide open. Overall, Dak set the tone from the start to the finish for MSU. You could see it in him on the sidelines, in the huddle, and especially after he gave up that big fumble. He was on the sidelines hyping his teammates up, which was great to see. He also was thanking every player on the sideline towards the end when the game seemed in hand (we'll discuss that shortly).
2. Woah, Josh Robinson. MSU came into the season with probably one of the more muddled running back pictures in the conference, but boy is it clear now. Robinson ran with authority for 197 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries. He reeled off big run after big run, but what was so impressive was how many tackles his slipped out of or avoided. And after each 7, 8 yard gain he walked back to the backfield and lined up for the next play. That's what stood out to me about most of the team tonight: the workmanlike attitude.
3. Sobiesk! Great game bud. You've been given a hard time for your miscues so far, so you deserve praise for doing your job tonight. Two field goals, no missed PATs. Well done.
4. I was driving and missed the first drive for State, but man, the play calling was fantastic tonight. State mixed it up well, and I never reached the point where I felt like we got conservative or predictable until the end. There were several times in the game where we converted a big down, and my first thought was "man; I like that call." Kudos to Mullen for that, since he calls the plays (his words, not mine).
5. The defense was lights out tonight. From the two forced punts to the hold on the goal line to the stops to start the second half, they stepped up big tonight and restored their rightful name to PSYCHO defense. So many guys played well tonight; Richie Brown, Preston Smith (surprise, surprise?), Benardrick McKinney, Beniquez Brown, Will Redmond, and many more that I forget right now. I don't hold the guys accountable for what happened at the end, mostly because the tone is set by the coaching staff, and I got the feeling that when they started mass subbing, the coaching staff was powering things down. That was a small blemish though on a night that otherwise was very, very impressive from this defense.
6. Speaking of that late game madness... DAN! What are you doing sir? I was a bit disappointed when I heard him come on the post game, and he immediately mentioned the "sloppy play late" by the guys. Uh, what about the whole subbing in the second team defense and offense there, Dano? I understand it was 34-17 at that point, but you can never go prevent/lax against a team that works up as much crazy $h!t as LSU does. It didn't end up costing MSU in the end, but let's acknowledge that it was a mistake, and let's learn from it and move on. It won't diminish the great win, but it did take the air out of what was a nearly perfect night before that.
7. In the end -- after the good and the late bad -- MSU sits at 4-0. A frustrating streak is now behind us, and a winning streak against one of the best teams in the country has begun. I remember sitting in the upper deck that day in 2009 when MSU gave up the punt return to Chad Jones, and then when we couldn't get the final yard to win. I remember thinking that day that this streak would go on forever, but thanks to the guys who laced it up tonight, it will not go past 14. What a great effort in front of a hostile crowd. And despite the gaff late in the game, I have to give Dan Mullen credit. I wrote earlier in the week that this three game stretch would define his "era" at MSU, and he answered the bell with the win tonight. My hat's off to you sir, but mostly, it's off to the guys on the field tonight. Take a few days, enjoy the win, but don't be satisfied. There's more to be had, boys, and two huge opportunities now await, at home, in the coming weeks.
The streak is dead; long live the streak