Confident Jeremy Langford delivers for Spartans
East Lansing – After running for more than 100 yards in eight straight games last season, it seemed a bit odd to see Jeremy Langford yet to reach the century mark through the first three games this season.
It's not like the Michigan State senior had a ton of opportunities, carrying the ball 46 times heading into Saturday's game against Wyoming. But even so, he and the Michigan State coaches wanted more.
"We mentioned coming into today that we wanted to get him going a little bit," offensive coordinator Dave Warner said, "get his confidence up and our offense's confidence in him up.
"Coach (Mark) Dantonio was part of the deal behind that. He made sure that was what we wanted to do, make sure that's what we were going to do. He went out and got it done for us. That was the plan."
He got it done, all right, carrying 16 times for 137 yards and adding a 29-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that helped No. 9 Michigan State to a 56-14 victory.
"It felt good to get the ball rolling going into the Big Ten season," Langford said. "The offensive line played real good and that's what we needed to do today, to get the running game going because the passing game has been great."
It didn't take long for Langford to find his groove, breaking free for a 36-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage.
That play sparked a Michigan State running attack that gained 338 yards, the second straight week the Spartans ran for more than 300 yards. It was the first time Michigan State accomplished that in back-to-back games since 2004 when it gained 324 yards against Minnesota and 368 at Michigan.
Nick Hill was also effective, carrying 10 times for 71 yards and Delton Williams added 34 yards on nine carries, as well as a 4-yard touchdown run.
"I think it was important that we went into the game saying that Jeremy needed 20 carries," Dantonio said. "Nick Hill was impressive again. Delton Williams runs firm and physical. He is a truck who just keeps rolling. All three of those guys did the job and it was a great performance by our football team."
Getting production from Langford is a positive sign for a Michigan State offense already producing at a high rate. After spraining his ankle in the season-opener, Langford now looks like he's rounding into form at the right time.
And he's running behind an offensive line that is coming together, even with center Jack Allen out with an injury.
"We came out with the mind-set we were going to run the ball today and did a great job with that," Langford said. "We came out hungry and ready to get the ball rolling and that is important. It's a long season in front of us and it's important we get the confidence rolling so (the offensive line) can open up holes for me to run through.
"It was like that on the first play of the game, getting the confidence up and opening the holes. They did a great job today."