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Bowl Grades: Capital One Bowl

Posted on: January 1, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2011 7:21 pm
 
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Alabama dominates Michigan State from start to finish, bludgeoning the Spartans 49-7.

ALABAMA

Offense: The Tide were entirely too physical for the Spartans from the get-go, with both members of the Mark Ingram-Trent Richardson tag team at running back punishing State tacklers of all varieties, particularly at the goal line. The Alabama offensive line mauled the Spartan defensive front, giving the backs huge lanes and quarterback Greg McElroy all day to throw. Julio Jones simply abused the defensive backs assigned to cover him (as shown). And McElroy showed off the precision that marked his 2009 national title run, completing 13 of his 17 passes for a whopping 12.9 yards per attempt.

Yes, that should about cover it. But somehow, given the degree of domination -- 265 first-half yards to Sparty's 67 and an easy touchdown on the first possession of the second half to push the lead to 35-0 -- it doesn't. GRADE: A

Defense:
Just as overwhelming as the Tide offense. Led by a huge game from linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Nico Johnson, the Tide so limited what had been one of the Big Ten's best rushing attacks that the Spartans finished the day with -48 rushing yards. (Yes, that's right: 48 rushing yards fewer than no rushing yards at all.) The Tide pass rush did everything to poor pounded State quarterback Kirk Cousins (who left the game in the third quarter after a particularly brutal sack) but tap dance on his helmet. It took until the dying minutes of the third quarter (by which point 'Bama had already pulled many of their starters) for the Spartans to even crack triple digits in total offense. In all, a total whitewashing. GRADE: A

Coaching: The Tide came out focused and motivated, immediately applied the boot to Sparty's throat, and never removed it. Can't ask for anything more than that. GRADE: A

MICHIGAN STATE

Offense:
Cousins led a couple of nice first-half drives, one that reached the Alabama 32 and another the Tide 2. But he also had a major hand in submarining both those drives, throwing a Robert Lester interception to end the first and (following a crucial illegal substitution penalty that pushed the ball back to the 7) fumbling on yet another sack to end the second.

After those, well, the Spartan offense's day would be best summed up by a montage of quarterbacks desperately scrambling back to cover a ball 10 yards behind them, State receivers dragged down 10 yards behind the line-of-scrimmage on futile end-arounds, and wobbly players of various positions limping off the field. It was U-G-L-Y past the point of alibi. GRADE: F+

Defense:
With the kind of talent boasted by the Tide, when Alabama (and particularly McElroy) is on their game, there's not always a lot any defense can do. But the "tackling" display by the Spartans -- proud, always-energetic All-American middle linebacker Greg Jones mostly excepted -- would have been borderline-embarrassing if they'd been facing the New Orleans Saints. Alabama's first five possessions, not counting the run-out-the-clock situation at the end of the first half, covered an average of 69 yards and ended: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown. That, folks, is not good. GRADE: F+

Coaching: Mark Dantonio
and his crew did an excellent job with this team during the season and were facing a substantial talent deficit today, but his team was far too sloppy to hang with the likes of Alabama and showed zero fight after going in at the half down 28. Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell did one of the best jobs in the country this year, but his attempts to use misdirection on slow-developing end-arounds and screens were never goign to work against a team with 'Bama's speed. GRADE: F

FINAL GRADE:
Unless you were an Alabama fan or the sort who enjoys burning insects to death with a magnifying glass, this game was interesting for the 120 seconds or so Sparty drove inside the Tide 10 and a forgone-concluded utter slog for every minute thereafter. Grade: D-

Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Capital One Bowl

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Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: January 2, 2011 4:21 am
 

Bowl Grades: Capital One Bowl

Well, I'm an Alabama fan - but even still I don't think it was a boring game.

Not so much because it looked like Michigan St was going to have a chance, but because of all the good play by Alabama.    It was a great game IMO, it was just one-sided in it.

That MSU TE had that great catch, and MSU was getting some good 3rd down conversions on some drives.  

On the other side of the ball, you got to see a QB put a block down on a TD run.   You got to see a ton of great solid hits, that knocked a few players out for awhile, but they were all textbook clean hits.   That was just some great football playing.     1 team doesn't get held to -48 rushing yards without some great football happening on the field.

A bad/boring game that would have deserved such a low grade would have been a game that was sloppy and one team happens to fall on the ball in the endzone or whatever to win.    Is that what you wanted to see?  A 6-0 win in overtime where the teams did nothing but go 3 and out because they can't complete a pass etc?

About the only thing you can say about the game is it could have been called with about 3 minutes to go in the 3rd qtr.   From that point on, sure give the game a D-.    But there was some great football and it was a fun game to watch in terms of football


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