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Michigan State: Five things we learned

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Pound Green Pound

The Spartans piled up 260 yards on the ground with Gerald Holmes picking up 100 on 13 carries and LJ Scott gaining 98 on 22 attempts. With an offensive line that appears to be coming together quickly and a stable of backs to hand the ball to, it looks like the Spartans won’t be straying from their bread and butter anytime soon.

Stopping the run

As important as it was for Michigan State to move the ball on the ground offensively, it was just as effective on the other side of the ball, limiting Notre Dame to just 57 rushing yards for the entire game. Michigan State continues to have trouble putting pressure on the passer on a consistent basis, but the ability to plug up holes for opposing running backs is proving to be something the defense can rely on.

Corley is the real deal

We’ve been hearing about how special freshman wide receiver Donnie Corley Jr. can be. On Saturday, the former Detroit King star proved that all the hype was certainly warranted. His first career touchdown catch was a beauty, reminding many of the catch he made to win a state championship for Detroit King last November, and his 28-yard grab for a first down in the final minutes showed his teammates have faith in him to make plays in crunch time.

Shelton is no slouch, either

Quarterback Tyler O’Connor is as comfortable with R.J. Shelton as any receiver and it appears the coaches are, too, looking to Shelton in some of the biggest moments. None were bigger than when MSU faced a third-and-3 in the final minute and Shelton took a flip from O’Connor and went 23 yards to ice the game.

Linebackers are heart of defense

Jon Reschke was the big playmaker Saturday as he led the team with eight tackles, had a tackle for loss, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass. Ed Davis returned after a knee injury kept him out last year and saw limited action while Andrew Dowell had a sack and Riley Bullough had a tackle for loss. It’s the deepest unit on the team and when the Spartans need a big play on defense, chances are it’s coming from that group.