Davis a steady force in MSU's 'irritating' offense

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Felton Davis had a rushing and receiving touchdown for Michigan State against Northwestern.

East Lansing — Felton Davis is frustrated.

But when it comes to the Michigan State offense, that’s not an exclusive club.

It was another inconsistent performance on Saturday as No. 20 Michigan State lost at home to Northwestern, 29-19. Ten of the Spartans’ points came off turnovers and the red zone was once again a problem as the offense managed just one touchdown in four trips inside the 20.

“For me, personally, it just sometimes is irritating,” Davis said. “But I know we’ve got execute what’s being called.”

Davis, who led Michigan State in receptions last season, has been one of the few constants. With seven catches for 96 yards on Saturday along with a touchdown grab and a run for a score, the senior was the Spartans’ most effective weapon.

More: Vulnerability to big play hurt Spartans again

And that was with the Wildcats focusing their efforts on slowing the 6-foot-4 Davis.

“That defense rotated to me,” Davis said. “We needed some other players to make plays. Cam (Chambers) had a good day and (Brandon) Sowards had a good day. No. 24 (Northwestern cornerback Montre Hartage) was following me all day but that’s what we planned for.”

Even when teams put all their focus on Davis — an easy option with the Spartans banged up at wide receiver — he was still able to produce.

“He had some big plays in the game,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “No question he had some glances on the backside, some slants for big plays. He hit that reverse for a big play, so he executed. I wish we would have come up with the fade there. He had one fade catch, wish we would have come up with the fade at the end of the game. It didn't happen, but I think he's playing good as far as our execution.”

Hitting the fade at the end might not have made a difference. Davis was the target on Michigan State’s fourth-down play from the Northwestern 1, but Brian Lewerke’s pass sailed over Davis’ head.

Davis was not, however, on the field the play before when tight end Matt Sokol caught a pass and fell at the 1. It was a moment that Davis’ frustration showed as he begrudgingly came off the field.

“Coach was just trying to give me a breather for the fourth down and put me into the boundary for the fade, but I didn't want to come out,” Davis said. “I played a lot of plays, and he was telling me he could tell I was tired but we needed a touchdown, you know? Even if you give us a chance to get the ball back or stuff like that, I just didn't want to come out of the game.”

There weren’t many plays Davis was out, and with the health of the receivers in question, that will continue to be the case.

“Everybody depended on me today to make plays and for the most part, I did what I could,” Davis said. “I know I left some plays still out there that I wish I could've made. So I just, for the most part, tried to make as many plays as I could.”


Twitter: @mattcharboneau