Michigan State Spartans Thrive Without Coach Dantonio: What We Learned

Nicholas RoddyCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2010

Photo Credit: Dale G. Young - Detroit News
Photo Credit: Dale G. Young - Detroit News

With head coach Mark Dantonio resting in his home after suffering a mild heart attack after Michigan State's thrilling overtime victory last weekend, the Spartans did not miss a beat against the Northern Colorado Bears.

Not only did the offense continue to impress, but the defensive unit came up big with timely stops and rare interceptions. 

Here is what we learned today:


Le'Veon Bell is Freshman All-American Worthy

Coming into the game against Northern Colorado, true freshman running back Le'Veon Bell had been averaging just over 100 YPG with 8.2 YPC and has four touchdowns.

Those numbers would be pretty tough to keep up for an All-Conference senior.

Well this freshman did nothing but improve on those numbers. Against the Bears, he rushed for 92 yards, good for 8.4 yards per carry. What made his day even better, though, were his three rushing touchdowns.

He now has seven touchdowns and just under 400 yards in his first four games in college football. If he can keep this up against the stout Big Ten defenses, his name will certainly be mentioned as a Freshman All-American.


Greg Jones Will Go Down as the Best Linebacker in Spartan History

For three years, middle linebacker Greg Jones has wrecked havoc on opposing offenses, accumulating 387 tackles and 16 sacks as a Spartan. What hasn't he done?

The answer: intercepted a pass. Until today.

One of Jones' personal goals for the season was to pick-off a pass. In his three years of manning the middle of the Spartan defense, he had never recorded an interception.

Against the Bears, however, he completed that goal. He picked-off his first pass on Northern Colorado's first possession. 

The next quarter, he intercepted his second pass.

Greg Jones has now done everything possible while at Michigan State, and when he goes to the NFL, his legacy will show that he was the greatest linebacker in Spartan history.


The Receiving Corps is One of the Best in the Big Ten

Sure, they had their fair share of dropped passes in the first few games, but when it comes down to it, this unit is stacked.

Kirk Cousins had a nice bounce-back game, throwing for 290 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

What was even more impressive was how he distributed the ball to every receiver.

Nine different receivers had receptions during the game. From speedster Keshawn Martin to trusty tight end Brian Linthicum and former quarterback Keith Nichol, the unit may be the best in the conference.

Last week, Charlie Gantt came up big. This week, it was Linthicum. Who will it be next week?

Nobody knows, but chances are one of these playmakers will step up into the spotlight.