EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans returned to practice on Thursday for the first time since a loss at Oregon on Saturday, but not before a tough film session looking back on several mistakes that could have made a big difference in Eugene.
“It was hurtful. Sickening,” safety R.J. Williamson said. “As a ball club, we let one get away.”.
Michigan State (1-1) fell to No. 13 from No. 7 in the AP Poll and is looking to bounce back from a 46-27 loss to the Ducks. Dantonio said the Spartans will make some corrections, and he is looking to see what his team has from a competitive standpoint. MSU had several breakdowns in the defensive secondary and failed to run the ball effectively in the second half of the Oregon game.
“Quiet,” senior safety and team captain Kurtis Drummond said of the film review. “You look at the plays that you left out there, and you’re mad at yourself. You’re mad at other guys just because you want to hold them accountable and hold yourself accountable. That’s the beauty of this team.”.
MSU began correcting issues in the secondary on Thursday after giving up touchdown passes of 70, 24 and 37 yards at Oregon. The Ducks also tallied two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns and finished the game on a 28-0 run.
“Everybody was upset about it, but I think people understand that while we lost, there’s a lot of things you can learn from it,” Drummond said. “Learn from the mistakes and just bring the team together. We had a great practice today, guys were flying around and having fun. You can see guys just want to get better.”.
Dantonio also said he wanted to see more from second-year starting quarterback Connor Cook, who passed for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Cook played well for much of the game but threw two costly interceptions. MSU scored just three points in the second half.
“If it was last year at this time I would say he had an excellent game,” Dantonio said. “But it’s this year, and if you want to play at that level your quarterback has got to play at that level. That’s just the way it is. I’m sure he wishes he had a couple plays back because he’s got the ability to make those key plays.”.
MSU now likely needs help in order to reach the first college football playoff. But the biggest goal, Dantonio says, is still winning a Big Ten championship. The Spartans won out, following a Week 4 loss at Notre Dame, to do just that last season. They earned victories in the Big Ten championship game and the Rose Bowl.
The Spartans also had a bye following the loss in South Bend and responded with an impressive 26-14 win two weeks later at Iowa. According to Drummond, MSU will need strong leadership to rebound in similar fashion this season.
“It’s going to be on our leaders, our captains and our upperclassmen, leading guys and really coming out here every day and working and understanding our goals are still ahead of us,” Drummond said.
Michigan State hosts Eastern Michigan on Sept. 20 at Spartan Stadium.
“Good day to be back out here to start to refocus and regroup as a football team,” Dantonio said Thursday. “We’ll look to get something done today and get on with it.
“There is always disappointment when you lose a big football game, but young people are resilient so we will be able to move past that.”.