What went wrong
Offensively, running the ball consistently is an issue, managing just 77 yards against the Falcons. It was tough sledding considering Air Force was stacking the box, focused on stopping the run. Madre London was held to 40 yards on 17 carries and LJ Scott had 23 yards on 11 carries. Defensively, the turnovers helped, as did a few key penalties on Air Force. But Michigan State had issues tackling in space as it allowed 279 yards rushing and got beat deep in the second half when Air Force threw. And there is a concern with junior K Michael Geiger (2-for-4 FGs).
WR Aaron Burbridge is quickly emerging as one of the top receivers in the Big Ten. The defense is dealing with a couple key injuries, and its depth was tested. True freshman Andrew Dowell (seven tackles) played well at the "Star" linebacker as fifth-year senior Darien Harris saw limited action. In the secondary, it looks like redshirt freshman CB Vayante Copeland could be out with a neck injury. His replacements had a tough time — fifth-year senior Arjen Colquhoun was beaten deep the second straight week.
Most telling quotes
■Co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett: "Thank God we're done with Air Force. It is really a tough scheme to prepare for, especially when you don't see it on a weekly basis."
■LB Andrew Dowell: "I played well. I just did my job. That's what the older guys preached to me being the younger guy out there. They just said 'Do your job and take care of what you're assigned to do and the rest will play out.' "
■QB Connor Cook: "The Air Force Academy (is) so disciplined in everything they do. They are tough guys that never quit and we knew that coming into it. I think we've done a great job handling our success."
What went right
The passing game had its best outing — QB Connor Cook was 15-for-23 for 247 yards with four TDs and no INTs. He is showing there is no longer a debate over who is the No. 1 receiver as he hooked up with senior Aaron Burbridge eight times for 156 yards and three TDs. Burbridge's receiving yards and TDs are career bests, and he's gone over 100 yards receiving all three games. Defensively, Air Force had 428 yards of offense, 279 rushing. But those numbers are standard for the Falcons, and the Spartans countered by forcing three turnovers, including a 64-yard fumble returned for a TD by RJ Williamson, who also had an INT.
Central Michigan at Michigan State
Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
Records: Central Michigan 1-2, No. 2 Michigan State 3-0
Line: MSU by 281/2
Series: MSU leads 6-3 (Last: 2012 — Michigan State 41, (at) Central Michigan 7
Of note: Central Michigan, which lost in OT at Syracuse, has upset Michigan State — but likely won't be an issue this season. Michigan State's bigger issues are injuries to Darien Harris and Vayante Copeland, and the loss of MLB Riley Bullough (suspended, targeting) the first half.