To say it was an improvement would be an understatement, as all football...everywhere...and at any time past or present is an improvement over what made its way out on to the field the previous two weeks. However, to say it was good would be a gratuitous overstatement.
A couple of team moves seemed to work, as a reshuffled offensive line seemed to be slightly more effective, and Devin Funchess has obviously found a home at the receiver position. Gardner was great at handoffs, and the addition of Funchess allowed his eyes to unlock from the Desmond Howard's legends jersey that he'd been burning a hole in since last November. He also didn't make many good throws. From my vantage point, he was bailed out by Funchess two or three times on balls that could have or should have been picked. There was a lot of Henne-to-Braylon-style (later perfected by Denard) underthrows where our guy came back for the ball quicker than the Gopher D could react to a shitty pass...resulting in long, undeserved (but appreciated!) completions. We couldn't seem to come up with that kill shot, either in the form of a score to put it out of reach, or a sustained drive to run out the clock. Make no mistake, the game was not put away until very late, despite what seemed like 100 chances to do so. Defensively we were just ok, not dominating. Mobile quarterbacks, even when not that mobile, still cause problems here...and I got news for you, they always will. We also seem to be susceptible to long passes, or several consecutive medium range ones. I feel like they come in spurts...like entire drives where someone is wide open on every throw. But in defense of the defense, we seem to make just enough timely stops to stall drives and/or force field goals.
Anyway, it was a decent win against a team that is not good and that was without their coach who IMHO needs to change his career...or at least his role. In getting to East Lansing undefeated news, Penn State just lost to Indiana by 20, so either that's great because they suck or that's bad because they're going to be pissed this weekend. Then Indiana visits (Tailgate Theme Alert: White Trash) and, um, did I mention they just beat Penn State by 20?
Bottom line, this level of play probably gets us by Penn State, Indiana, and maybe Iowa. We need to play better than this to get by MSU, NW, Nebraska, and OSU. Reverting to Akron or UCONN play levels will result in a loss regardless of how hapless the opponent will be.
See y'all in Happy Valley. Go Blue!