39ºF

MONDAY HUDDLE: Is this beginning of end for Mark Dantonio?

5 takeaways from this weekend's football scene around the state

Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans takes the field with his team prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Here are five takeaways from this past weekend's football action around the state.

Crisis point for Dantonio, MSU

As bad as Michigan State's performance against Wisconsin was, Mark Dantonio's response to a question at the postgame press conference was worse. 

Asked if it was a mistake to not bring in new assistant coaches over the offseason to help revive a dormant offense, Dantonio said it was a "dumb a-- question."

Actually, it's a great question.

Many MSU fans have been asking it ever since last season ended, when Dantonio ignored pleas for change and simply reassigned roles in his coaching staff instead of firing assistants after the Spartans were one of the worst offensive teams in the country. 

Dantonio's stubbornness has been a trait that has worked in his favor during his 13-year tenure at MSU and helped him become the school's winningest coach, but it might lead to his demise now.

The present state of the program isn't rosy.

The offense is still inept, the defense has given up more points than expected and there really isn't much else noteworthy the Spartans can accomplish this year other than beating Michigan. This was a team that had aspirations of getting to the Big Ten title game and contending for a playoff berth at the start of the year, but those things won't happen now with two league losses and three overall defeats.

The future doesn't look bright either, with several quality seniors graduating off this year's team, recruiting going poorly, and fan apathy likely leading to lots of empty seats for remaining home games this year. 

The program is not headed in a good direction, and clearly fresh ideas and new faces are needed in East Lansing.

Changes will have to be made to help the Spartans adapt and keep up with the times. Things that worked five to 10 years ago aren't effective in this day and age.

If Dantonio doesn't want to make those changes himself and bring in new assistants, then it might be best if he gracefully retires on good terms and everyone can forever celebrate the Rose Bowl win and College Football Playoff berth he helped lead MSU to. 

Otherwise, his legacy as the school's best ever coach will be heavily tainted.

Must-win for Lions?

Monday night's NFC North showdown at Lambeau Field against the Packers might be the first of six divisional games for the Lions this year, but it can be argued it already is a must-win game if the Lions want to contend for their first division title since 1993. 

If the Packers win, they'll be 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the NFC North, while the Lions would already be behind at 2-2-1 and 0-1. 

If the Packers simply went 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Lions would have to go 8-3 in their last 11 to overtake them. With the NFC West having three strong teams in the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams, the Wild Card might not be a plausible playoff option for the Lions either. 

In other words, the Lions need to win this game.

U-M avoids upset, now things get tough

Michigan sure made a lot of fans ready to storm Jim Harbaugh's office and demand he leave town after lowly Illinois scored 25 straight points to pull within 28-25 of the Wolverines in the fourth quarter Saturday after Michigan led 28-0 at halftime. 

But U-M held firm and pulled out a 42-25 win, briefly staving off those ready to perform a new coaching search. 

The next two weeks, which are games at Penn State on Saturday night and home against Notre Dame on Oct. 26, should fully determine whether the Wolverines can live up to their preseason expectations, or have the same questions about the program's future that are going on in East Lansing.

Campbell returns for Ferris State in win at Wayne State

Maybe it was the opportunity to play in his hometown, but whatever the reason, Ferris State quarterback Jayru Campbell returned to action Saturday after mysteriously missing the previous two games for the Bulldogs.

A Detroit native and reigning Harlon Hill Trophy winner, Campbell threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns to help Ferris State earn a 59-13 rout at Wayne State. 

Campbell missed the previous two games for what were described as "health issues."

State prep powers on ropes

Since 2011, Clarkston and Detroit Cass Tech have combined to win six Division 1 high school football state titles, and each also has a runner-up finish in that span. 

However, both teams are on the brink of not even making the playoffs this fall since each has 3-4 records. 

Teams need to get to six wins to automatically qualify for the postseason, but a select group of 5-4 teams are awarded at-large berths based on number of playoff points earned. 

All Clarkston and Cass Tech can do now is win their last two games of the regular season and hope for the best. 
 


About the Author:

Keith Dunlap

Keith is a Web Content Producer/Editor for Graham Media Group with a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.