The good, the bad, the B1G: Spartans 45, Jacksonville State 7

The good, the bad, the B1G: Spartans 45, Jacksonville State 7
August 29, 2014, 10:00 pm
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Vinnie Duber

Michigan State opened its season with a 45-7 win over Jacksonville State on Friday in East Lansing. Here's the good, the bad and the B1G from the Spartans' victory.

The good

— How good was Connor Cook? After the season-ending injury to Braxton Miller, Cook became the quarterback to watch in the Big Ten, and he showed why in the season-opener. Cook was outstanding, albeit against an FCS opponent. But no matter who he was throwing against, he made it look easy. Cook completed 12 of his 13 passing attempts, finishing at halftime with 285 yards and three touchdown passes. He only played 30 minutes, but they were eventful. Cook's first passing attempt of the season went for a 64-yard touchdown to Tony Lippett. Spartan Nation held its collective breath when Cook was nailed in the knee by a defender on that play, needing assistance to get off the field. But he returned on the next drive, and on his second passing attempt, he pitched a throw to Lippett that resulted in a 71-yard touchdown. Not bad for two throws. Cook added another TD throw in the first quarter, and he had a game's worth of quality plays in 15 minutes. Not a bad night.

— To go along with Cook's efforts, the Michigan State offense as a whole was as good as advertised vs. Jacksonville State. With Cook and running back Jeremy Langford back in the fold, it looked like the Spartans offense could star this season after the defense was the headlining unit last year. And Friday night, the offense did just that. In addition to Cook's big night, the team rushed for more than 200 yards, with backup running back Nick Hill finding the end zone twice in the first half. Lippett shone early with two touchdowns, and 10 different receivers caught a pass. Yeah, it was FCS foe Jacksonville State, but still.

[MORE BIG TEN: Connor Cook hit in knee, returns for second touchdown pass]

The bad

— There wasn't much of anything the Spartans did wrong Friday night. They looked exactly how a College Football Playoff contender is supposed to look. If there was a negative aspect of the opener, it came in the form of injuries. Cook's hit to the knee was the most headline-worthy, but he seemed to overcome it fairly easily. But Langford limped off the field a couple times, and wideout/return man Macgarrett Kings was injured in the fourth quarter. Starting offensive lineman Travis Jackson had to be helped off the field. In a game wrapped up so easily and so early, injuries to key players are not the kind of thing you want to see happen. We'll have to wait and see how severe they are.

[MORE BIG TEN: The good, the bad, the B1G: Rutgers 41, Washington State 38]

The B1G

— Oh, and just in case you thought the defense was going to roll over and let the offense steal the show, think again. The Spartans allowed just 244 total yards to Jacksonville State, including only 22 rushing yards. The No Fly Zone was stellar in its first game without Darqueze Dennard, coming up with three interceptions. Oh, and while Shilique Calhoun might not have scored a touchdown in this season's opening game, he did come up with a sack for a loss of 24 yards.