Taking the hits
Let me tell you about one of the most impressive people I've covered on this beat.
It's early in his career and there's a long way to go, and I still don't know for sure that he'll keep his job for the duration of his career. But the courage Kirk Cousins showed tonight, with the cameras and tape recorders and bad-breathed reporters in his face, was commendable.
But that's Cousins. He is unlike most 20-year-olds you'll encounter. He's unlike a lot of 40-year-olds you'll encounter. He's this team's driving emotional force and leader as a sophomore in a battle for a permanent starting position.
And he just made a play that won't be forgotten. Like Dave Yarema's pick in 1986 or Jeff Smoker's pass to Herb Haygood in 2000 or Adam Decker's stop of Shonn Greene in 2008.
And he sat there and took it all. And answered for it.
“A quarterback is judged by wins and losses and how he plays at crunch time," he said. "And right now I’m 1-2 as a starter and I made a critical error at crunch time.”
I'm very interested to see how fans react to this game. That pick, Chris L. Rucker's shoulda-been pick and the blocked Brett Swenson extra point are the key plays that MSU can look back on. The defense is a beleaguered bunch right now. I think the team as a whole, though, showed resolve.
That probably isn't terribly comforting to a fan base that was hoping for 10 wins and is staring at 1-2 with Wisconsin and Michigan up next. So yeah, this will be interesting. You can say Cousins lost this game, but did he win a job? Probably. More respect? Definitely.