Michigan State vs Western Michigan: Grading the Spartans

6 of 7

Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Daniel Braverman (8) breaks tackle of Michigan State Spartans safety Montae Nicholson (9) during the 1st half of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers/Secondary: C-

Yes, I know, this is pretty harsh. The Spartans only allowed 24 points in the game — seven of which came on a kickoff return TD — but the secondary was lethargic for the entire second half.

Related: Michigan State vs Western Michigan: Secondary exposed in win

It’s obvious as to why the secondary struggled so much in the second half as they played a zone defense — something that was probably just an experiment and won’t happen again. It didn’t work, clearly, and the Spartans allowed 365 passing yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Zach Terrell.

In their defense, Terrell is the best quarterback in the MAC and wide receiver Corey Davis is probably the best wide out they’ll face until the Ohio State game — or maybe even the best wide out the defense will face all year.

There were three new starters in the secondary and, surprisingly, those guys weren’t the issue. Demetrious Cox played well, but did get burned a couple of times. Montae Nicholson added an interception and decently controlled the defensive backfield, didn’t let too many passes behind him.

Vayante Copland was the real star as the redshirt freshman showed that he has a bright future ahead of him in the Spartan secondary.

One major problem seemed to be the open field tackling and the over pursuit by the linebackers such as Riley Bullough. Also, Darien Harris struggled in pass defense as well, allowing far too many receptions when trying to cover his man. That may be a weak spot on the defense in which opposing QBs may exploit this season.

Next: Special teams