EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A win is a win. So says Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, with his Spartans coming off a lackluster 14-0 win over Purdue.
The defense was excellent, earning Michigan State's first shutout in conference play since 1999.
But the offense, which had shown progress during back-to-back wins over Iowa and Indiana, totaled just 294 total yards and regressed in most areas.
"Did we take a step back this last week? Probably," Dantonio said Tuesday. "In some cases we did, in other cases, even offensively, in other cases we took a step forward. (Running back Jeremy) Langford had his best day as a Spartan. So there are positives that we can look at in every respect, and there's also going to be negatives."
Langford was perhaps the lone bright spot on a day in which the offense managed just one touchdown, the other coming on a 45-yard fumble return from senior linebacker Denicos Allen. Langford, who has emerged as the No. 1 option this season, tallied a career-high 131 rushing yards on 24 carries one week after earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for his four-touchdown performance in a win over Indiana.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook, however, had one of his worst performances as a starter, completing 13 of 25 attempts for 107 yards. Now MSU (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) is looking to take a step forward when it travels to Illinois (3-3, 0-2) on Saturday.
"Hopefully we understand as we move through the process here, you have got to be able to handle success," Dantonio said. "You've got to get yourself ready to play the very next game. We're going to find out more about that as we go in practice this week and see what our players do and get a feel from our players, but you just never know."