Michigan State Snap Counts: No Rest for the Givens

By Dan Smith on October 16, 2018 at 8:00 am
Kevin Givens chased Brian Lewerke.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Every year I return to this feature invigorated. Then, the team loses, and I remember that I hate this.

Offense (64 plays)

Pos. First Team Second Team Third Team
QB Trace McSorley (64)    
RB Miles Sanders (52) Ricky Slade (13)  
WR Juwan Johnson (53) Cam Sullivan-Brown (10)  
WR DeAndre Thompkins (30) Brandon Polk (29) John Reid (1)
WR K.J. Hamler (51) Mac Hippenhammer (16)  
TE Pat Friermuth (47) Nick Bowers (18)  
LT Ryan Bates (64)    
LG Steven Gonzalez (64)    
C Michel Menet (64)    
RG Connor McGovern (64)    
RT Will Fries (64)    
  • Ricky Slade Returns: The true freshman did not appear in the Ohio State game, as Miles Sanders led the charge directly into the interior of Ohio State's defensive line. Slade saw snaps comparable to those Sanders saw last year backing up Saquon Barkley.
  • Mac Hippenhammer Briefly on the Outside: Brandon Polk and DeAndre Thompkins have produced little-to-nothing this year, so the offense experimented with the backup slot receiver Hippenhammer on the outside opposite Juwan Johnson. It worked, as Hippenhammer caught a big third-and-6 catch to the get the Nittany Lions inside the 10. I would not be surprise if he gets more looks in this role if Polk and Thompkins continue to limit their stat sheet appearances to the participation section.
  • Clear Top-Two at Tight End: The top-two in the season opener were Jon Holland and Danny Dalton, but it has become clear in recent weeks that Pat Friermuth and Nick Bowers are the two most trusted tight ends by the coaching staff.
  • No Lion Package: Tommy Stevens had a forgettable 2018 debut against Ohio State and the offensive coaching staff scrapped his Lion package this week.
  • John Reid Gets a Snap on the Kneel Down: Reid got what I believe is his first career offensive snap, stepping into the wide receiver position at the back of their kneel down formation at the end of the first half.

Defense (88 plays)

Pos. First Team Second Team Third Team / Reserves
DE Shareef Miller (71) Shane Simmons (17) Daniel Joseph (5)
DT Robert Windsor (65) P.J. Mustipher (8) Yetur Gross-Matos (6)
DT Kevin Givens (76) Fred Hansard (10) Antonio Shelton (5) / C.J. Thorpe (4)
DE Yetur Gross-Matos (54) Shaka Toney (33)  
WLB Koa Farmer (60) Micah Parsons (28)  
MLB Jan Johnson (36) Ellis Brooks (10)  
SLB Cam Brown (78) Jarvis Miller (8)  
CB Amani Oruwariye (83) Donovan Johnson (33)  
S Nick Scott (84) Jonathan Sutherland (6)  
S Garrett Taylor (78) Lamont Wade (10)  
CB John Reid (62) Tariq Castro-Fields (34) Zech McPhearson (4)
  • Malpractice in Managing Defensive Tackles Again: Kevin Givens played 76 snaps. I know Ellison Jordan is injured, and I know Fred Hansard went down, but that is insane. He was not even able to start the final defensive drive because he was so gassed, with Gross-Matos playing the first couple of snaps before Givens could finally get out there.
  • C.J. Thorpe Shines Again: After coming in last week for the final two plays, including Ohio State's game-winning touchdown, Thorpe showed up again on the defensive goal line to help make a stand. He helped them make three great stops on the 1-yard line at the start of the second quarter ... and then immediately gave Michigan State a free first down by swinging at a guy who blocked him.
  • This Leads Me to Talking about Kevin Givens Some More: Because of this, James Franklin disciplined Thorpe by sitting him out for the rest of the first half. This did not just mean on defense, as Thorpe plays on three special teams units, including the punt unit as one of the protectors for Blake Gillikin. With whom did Franklin replace Thorpe on the punt unit? Why, none other than Kevin Givens!
  • Zech McPhearson Is on the Penn State Roster: McPhearson saw game action for the first time in three or four halves and contributed to a bewildered Penn State getting burned twice. After Robert Windsor was called for an atrocious holding penalty that gifted Michigan State out of a fourth down decision (note: referee Mike Cannon should be fired out of one), the defense decided to give up and stay in nickel with a third-string corner on the field. After losing a Michigan State receiver for a pitch-and-catch 20 yard pass in front of John Reid, McPhearson got caught one-on-one and fell down as the Spartans cashed in for a touchdown.
  • Givens Shattered the Record for Snaps by a Defensive Tackle Under Brent Pry: You may recall Penn State getting shellacked by Michigan in September 2016. That was the last time a Penn State defensive tackle played more than 50 snaps in a game, with Parker Cothren clocking in at 58 snaps. Givens played nearly 20 more than that against Michigan State.
  • Simmons Debuts: Shane Simmons returned from his injury and played for the first time this season.
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