Michigan State Spartans: Team at a Crossroads

Blake MillerContributor IOctober 13, 2009

3-3 perhaps can't sum it up any better.

After a second consecutive Big Ten victory, Mark Dantonio's team currently stands at a crucial make or break point.  Stopping and looking at the current 2009 squad yields question marks at almost every junction.

 

Injuries:

With the loss of Glenn Winston for the season and A.J. Jimmerson tweaking his knee, who steps up in what has been an inconsistent running attack?

As much as you hate to see it be at the expense of an injury, does a Winston-less backfield solidify the spot for Larry Caper? Or does Caulton Ray help share the load? What about Edwin Baker—does his redshirt remain?

 

Quarterback: 

Sure, we've known this was going to be under scrutiny since spring ball. 

But Keith Nichol injuring his elbowing this Saturday throws in a new dynamic. 

Kirk Cousins was nicked up going into Illinois on Saturday, and Nichol saw the majority of snaps. Will roles be reversed come this Saturday against Northwestern? Should he perform well, will Cousins see his first game taking 100 percent of the snaps?

 

Northwestern:

Will we see something like 2008, when Javon Ringer and Co. jumped out early on the Wildcats and handed Pat Fitzgerald his first loss of the season?

Or a 2007-like fiasco where the spread-em-out Wildcats shocked the Spartans at home in OT?

What about a little of both? 2006 essentially included two games: a 35-point embarrassing blowout, and a historically unfathomable Spartan comeback. 

Hey, can't go wrong with a little variety.

 

Big Ten:

No, I can't. Well...okay, you talked me into it.

It is with extreme reserve that I ask can you at least somewhat count the Spartans back in?

Well no, the numbers don't allow for that—yet. But let's just say there's a shot.

Sparty's gonna get its shot in a home night game against Iowa in two weeks. Plus, the Hawkeyes have a solid Wisconsin team this Saturday to think about first.

Maybe, if the football gods look down nicely for once on the Big Ten, Ohio State may actually lose one of those 14-9 games they always pull out against a lesser opponent.  Plus they finish the season as such: the much-discussed Happy Valley trip, home against Iowa, then the classic blah, blah in Ann Arbor.

Could the Nov. 21st regular-season home finale against Penn State actually matter? Could the Spartans actually backdoor their way...

No, I'm getting way too ahead of myself and thinking very optimistically.

There's too many questions to be answered along the way first.

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