Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.
Campbell’s decisions rightfully scrutinized in Lions loss
For how much Dan Campbell has galvanized a lot of Lions fans with a blue-collar mentality and messages about toughness, aggressiveness and grit, Sunday’s heartbreaking (what else is new?) loss to the Vikings continued to cast doubt on his capacity to manage a game.
The most obvious decision was deciding to kick a field goal with the Lions up 24-21 and facing a fourth-and-4 from the Minnesota 36 with more than a minute remaining.
Mind you, before that Campbell decided to go for it on fourth down six previous times in the game, including near midfield in the second quarter when the Lions had a 14-7 lead.
Instead of pinning the Vikings deep with a punt while having a lead, Minnesota stopped the Lions, took advantage of the short field and went down and scored a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14, but Campbell was at least consistent.
But rather than continue with that aggressiveness, Campbell contradicted himself by sending out kicker Austin Seibert to try a low percentage 54-yard field goal, especially since Seibert missed from 48 yards earlier.
If it was Jason Hanson or Matt Prater jogging out there, it might have been a different story, but it wasn’t.
Even with a Seibert make, Minnesota still had time to drive the field and score a game-winning touchdown.
Minnesota was also out of timeouts, quarterback Jared Goff was playing a solid game and the offensive line was mashing all day, so get four yards and the game is over.
However, Campbell sent out Seibert.
He missed the field goal, the Vikings took over in great field position, and well, you know the rest.
To his credit, Campbell admitted after the game that he regretted the decision and that he felt like he cost his team, but that likely won’t make Lions fans feel better.
In addition to that decision, Campbell decided to take a timeout after the Vikings completed a pass to the Detroit 28-yard line with 45 seconds remaining during that fateful final drive.
Instead of having to rush up and spike the ball while 10-15 additional seconds elapsed off of the clock, the timeout allowed Minnesota to get a breather and organize.
The Vikings scored on the next play, and fans were left muttering “Same Old Lions” once again.
Michigan heads to house of horrors
After surviving Maryland thanks in large part to running back Blake Corum, Michigan now heads to a place where it has a bad recent history.
And no, we aren’t talking about Columbus.
Michigan will play at Iowa having lost four straight in Iowa City, including on a last-second field goal in 2016 when the Wolverines entered unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in the country.
The last win for Michigan at Iowa was in 2005.
The Hawkeyes have won two straight following a loss to Iowa State and feature an elite defense that has allowed just 23 points this year.
Iowa’s offense was a national joke the first two games of the year after scoring just one touchdown combined against South Dakota State and Iowa State, but has improved a bit with 54 combined points the last two weeks against Nevada and Rutgers.
Michigan State facing a lot of $95 million questions
Twitter has certainly been on fire with jokes about Mel Tucker’s $95 million contract and the whole “Tuck Comin” mantra the last two games, but it’s no wonder given the laugher Michigan State’s season has become.
Quite simply, Michigan State doesn’t even look like a team that can qualify for a bowl game after a lopsided 34-7 home loss to Minnesota.
The Spartans were completely dominated in every facet of the game and face a myriad of questions on both sides of the ball.
Other than punting, Michigan State isn’t doing anything right at all at the moment and there’s little time to figure it all out with games at Maryland, home against Ohio State and Wisconsin, and at Michigan on the horizon.
Tucker will certainly have to earn his hefty contract trying to sort this mess out.