October 29, 2007

Hoyer looking to take next step

EAST LANSING - Brian Hoyer believes that Michigan State is 10 to 15 plays away from being at least a 7-2, maybe 8-1, football team. And anyone who has observed the Spartans (5-4 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) this season would probably agree with the junior quarterback's assessment of his team through nine games.

The Spartans have battled in every game this season, yet they haven't been able to close out games in three of their four losses, the most recent happening this past Saturday at Iowa.

The problem is that first-year head coach Mark Dantonio and his staff are awaiting a weekend warrior to bring the Spartans over the hump. And while at times this year a player - or even a full unit for that matter - has stepped forward, Dantonio says his team has struggled with taking a step back, and during critical times.

This two steps forward, one step back theory was evident against the Hawkeyes as the Spartans took a commanding 17-3 lead into halftime before surrendering 17 unanswered points and finally lost 34-27 in double overtime.

"I think for me this past week was the toughest loss so far because it was so emotional. You know we dominated the first half and then we come out and kind of give it away and then come back in the end, take it back and then just come up short again. So it was emotional and it was real tough on me, tough on a lot of guys," Hoyer said.

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