Concern over quarterback play is not only an issue in East Lansing.
At Indiana, there is some worry after junior Richard Lagow threw five interceptions in a loss to Wake Forest last weekend.
There is hardly any sense of panic, however, considering the junior college transfer threw for 496 yards and three touchdowns and overall has 1,002 passing yards in three games.
In fact, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson put only one of the five interceptions solely on the shoulders of Lagow, who let his frustrations show late.
“We were struggling in the fourth quarter and he got frustrated and his frustrations got the best of him,” Wilson said Monday. “Other than that he’s been himself. He was back in watching tape and we had some good meetings with him, there was a lot of good things and actually there was one force. To me it’s a collective effort and coaches are part of that team and we just all gotta do better.
“I like the way he’s playing, guys behind him gotta do better, but I didn’t think he mismanaged anything, where he wasn’t doing well. He had picks, but he to me had one really forced. ... The quarterback looks good when the surrounding cast does their job and he gets all the credit. When the surrounding cast don’t do their job, he’s the bomb.”
Saturday, he’ll be trying to get Indiana rolling against a Michigan State defense that has given up its share of yards through the air. No. 17 Michigan State is ranked 12th in the Big Ten in passing defense (226 yards) and allowed Wisconsin to convert seven third downs last weekend, as well as a pair of fourth downs.
It’s something Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is aware of and hopes to remedy.
“We played man coverage on them, we played zone on them in all different situations,” Dantonio said of Wisconsin. “I don’t think there was one call that was basically the same. It was just they found a way. I think the one main thing was on the third-down completions, whether we were zone pressuring or man pressuring or playing coverage was that the quarterback stood in there and didn’t get affected.
“So you’ve got to find a way to pressure the quarterback and you’ve obviously got to find a way to play better coverage. Some of it is technique, some of it is structure. It’s all related. Anybody who wants to say it’s my fault, it’s all there, say that.”
One remedy could be getting freshman defensive ends Josh King and Auston Robertson more playing time after pulling their redshirts late against the Badgers.
Wilson is expecting his quarterback to bounce back, but also understands scoring against a wounded Michigan State team will take more than just his quarterback.
“We gotta be a lot tougher,” Wilson said. “We gotta be a lot more physical, find some run game, take care of the ball, do things that it takes to win, because that team last week they came in and played good team ball. We had some good team stats. They played as a team. They played in all phases as a team.”
Indiana injury report
The status of offensive linemen Dan Feeney (concussion) and Dimitric Camiel (back) remains in question for Indiana.
“I would like to get those guys back,” Wilson said. “I saw Dan doing more (Sunday). (Monday) is a light teaching day in our program, but I think as he goes through exercise-induced activities, it’s just a matter of, does he have headache issues and when that’s clear I think our doctors are giving the clear. … Dimitric is going through a back and we’ll see where he gets to.”
Michigan State at Indiana
Kickoff: 8 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
Records: 17 Michigan State 2-1 (0-1 Big Ten), Indiana 2-1 (0-0)
Line: Michigan State by 8
Series: Michigan State leads 45-15-2 (Michigan State 52-26, Oct. 24, 2015)