Michigan State football has an intriguing matchup in Week 2. They kick off against Western Michigan on Saturday at home at 7:30 p.m.
Michigan State plays Western Michigan on Saturday and, man, this will be an intriguing matchup. With the way the Spartans played in their home opener, fans are already starting to get concerned. The Spartans will have their hands full all game long with the Broncos.
In this matchup, it will be strength vs. strength and weakness vs. weakness.
The Broncos’ strength is their offense. They have a fifth-year senior calling shots in Jon Wassink. He got injured late in the season last year but this year he is picking up right where he left off before he got injured. In the Broncos’ season opener against Monmouth he slung it all over the field with 368 yards and five touchdowns on 20-of-25 completions.
The Spartans will try to combat this air-driven offense with the likes of Josiah Scott and Co. They will have to be on their game with defending the receivers if they hope to not fall to the Broncos. They will need to be disciplined in their position techniques like reading the quarterback’s eyes, staying in stride with their receivers and most importantly turning their head and tracing the ball to knock it down so they do not get the dreaded pass interference flag.
Next, Western Michigan have all the experience in their bigs up front. They have returned four starters from last year’s offensive line which was top-notch at keeping their quarterback safe. They not only have these four returners but they have depth on the offensive line. They will be able to keep the legs fresh to wear down the front-seven of the Spartans.
Led by Raequan Williams, the Spartans are also loaded in their defense line. They were causing issues in for Tulsa all game long with bad snaps and lots of pressure. The MSU defensive line helped hold Tulsa to negative-73 rushing yards and a ton of misfires from the quarterback. If the Spartans want to win, they need to win the battle in the trenches.
Western Michigan also has a ton of versatility at skill positions such as tight end and running back. They have two great ends with great speed and size to help and this duo can challenge the opposing linebackers in a variety of different ways. The running backs are also a strength for the Broncos with LeVante Bellamy leading the way. They have a boom and bust kind of back to go along with a traditional stay low and bulldoze back.
The Spartans have a great strength in their front-seven to help combat what the Broncos are going to throw at them.
Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes will lead the team in this area and will be the driving motivator to get the stops needed in order to come away with the victory. They tied for the team lead in tackles with seven apiece against Tulsa. Their combined stats were 14 tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a QB hurry. They will need to continue these type of numbers if the Spartans want any chance of winning.
The game will come down to which team has a stronger weak link than the other.
The weak link for the Broncos come on the defensive side of the ball. They are undersized at the linebacker position and they have no versatility in the defensive line. They are going to need to convert on third downs because they struggle to pin opponents deep in their own territory with their punting unit.
Lastly, they might be quick at the cornerback position but they are lacking in experience. One of the Broncos’ top receivers from a year ago made the transfer to the defensive side of the ball and will be lining up again Cody White or Darrell Stewart on Saturday. Which one will come out having the upper hand?
Michigan State, on the other hand, has the weak link being its offense. For the entire game against Tulsa, the Spartans could not find the right rhythm to play with on that side of the ball. Brian Lewerke could not find time to make his reads and some of his passes were either over-thrown or under-thrown all game long.
The offensive line was not winning the battle at the line and so the running backs could not get anything going on the ground making the Spartan offense pass heavy unit instead of a balanced attack. The play-calling was not in sync and the Spartans could not get anything going.
Whoever will win this game is going to be the team who can figure out how to fix their weak links enough to overcome their opponent. It will be a fun game to watch and an intriguing game to facilitate. Can the Spartans offense overcome their woes and score more than the Broncos? Can the Broncos figure out their defense enough to not allow Lewerke and company offensive rhythm?
Prediction: MSU pulls out a back and forth affair that is sloppy from start to finish, 14-10.