Michigan State football way-too-early-preview vs. Rutgers

The Big Ten is coming back Oct. 24. On that, Saturday Michigan State football will kick off its season in Spartan Stadium playing Rutgers. Last season Rutgers was the comeback game for MSU. After a tough five-game losing streak midseason, the Spartans ended up beating Rutgers 27-0, and ended the season winning their last two games as well. This put Michigan State’s final record at a disappointing 6-6 but made it bowl eligible.

The Spartans had two key offensive players against Rutgers. Quarterback Brian Lewerke had 239 yards passing and 3 touchdowns with one interception. Receiver Cody White tallied 136 receiving yards and caught three touchdowns. Elijah Collins, who will most likely be the starting running back this season, also had a great game with 31 carries and 109 yards rushing.

Defensively, the Spartans were solid, and returning players Noah Harvey, Xavier Henderson and Antjuan Simmons were all very productive. This is a good sign considering all three will have the experience from last season to carry over into the season opener.

Some key threats the Scarlet Knights have returning this season include running back Isaih Pacheco, who led Rutgers in rushing last season with 729 yards on 169 carries, and graduate transfer quarterback Noah Vedral, who fits the no-huddle tempo new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson wants to run.

Tyshon Fogg will most likely be leading the defense this year under new defensive coordinator Robb Smith. Fogg started all 12 games last season for the Scarlet Knights and led Rutgers last season with 104 tackles, which placed him third in the Big Ten.

I hope to see the Spartans test the passing game at first, and if Rocky Lombardi isnt in rhythm, we can turn to the run-heavy offense first-year head coach Mel Tucker likes to play. Since this will be the first game back for both teams, I don’t see either team absolutely dominating the other. Don’t be surprised to see some sloppy play on both sides of the ball. However, with the Spartans’ talent base, I predict a 28-14 home win to start the season.

Photo by The Daily Targum