Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Alamo finally ends on sunday morning

Got Freep? Then you got nothing.

Well nothing when it comes to Alamo Bowl game story in Sunday's Free Press sports page. Even though the game didn't end until after 1am Sunday morning, it would not have been out of the realms of reality for the Free Press to delay printing of their Sunday edition. Given today's modern technology, the Free Press could have composed a little summary and cut and paste a box score in no time.

The issue though would be space. They would have needed a lot of space to print the box score from Saturday's Alamo Bowl. By now everyone is probably aware that Michigan State lost 41-31 to Texas Tech in a day after new year's shootout. Would you have expected anything less than a shootout in the Alamo? And in true Alamo fashion, State found themselves in the same predicament as Davy Crockett and company were in -- they were simply outgunned. Coming into the game, Texas Tech was one of the top passing teams in the country. State was in the bottom 20 of pass defense in the country. Not only was State outgunned, but they were also out-manned. For the past month, State had the stigma of 14 players suspended due to their alleged criminal actions.

Texas Tech saw State's suspensions and raised them a coach suspension, only to be followed by that coach being fired 3 days before the game. The outside activity by both teams made tv coverage more suited to be done by CNN rather than ESPN.

All off-field controversy aside, the game was able to provide plenty of action on the field. Texas Tech's offense was well known, but MSU's wasn't exactly chop liver. State came into the game as the top passing team in the big 10 and in the top 50 in the country. Perhaps Texas Tech coach Mike Leach even slipped MSU a few play calls too, because the Spartans used a slew of trick plays to their advantage. A punter throwing passes, quarterbacks catching passes, and a wide receiver throwing for a touchdown. Down the stretch State actually led with 8 minutes left, but once Texas Tech made the QB switch, the Spartans could no longer hold back the Red Raiders at The Alamo.

For State to improve next year, the solution is simple -- shore up the secondary. Mark Dantonio may have developed the passing offense sooner than expected, but that positive doesn't outweigh his negative. This off season will give him a chance to try to regain some balance.