A year ago, Michigan State football had one of the worst rushing attacks in the country.
In fact, the Spartans ranked 111th in the nation in rushing yards per game which was a vast contrast from 2021 when Michigan State had the nation’s top running back in Kenneth Walker III. The run game was supposed to be a strength with Jarek Broussard and Jalen Berger transferring in.
However, that was far from the case.
Broussard really struggled all season long, Berger got off to a slow start but finished strong, and Elijah Collins just never regained his footing from pre-COVID-19 days — he showed flashes, but it was clear that he just wasn’t the same player. Collins has since transferred to Oklahoma State to finish his college career.
To make matters worse, the offensive line was different every week because of injuries and it was one of the weakest position groups on the team because of that. The run game never stood a chance.
That’s all going to change in 2023.
Michigan State football’s run game will earn respect
I get it, you have to earn respect in college football. In 2021, Michigan State had one of the best rushing attacks in the nation but in 2022, all of that respect was erased.
Now, ahead of 2023, everyone is overlooking the Spartans’ run game. Heck, Phil Steele’s preview magazine doesn’t even have Michigan State’s backfield in the top 64 nationally. That’s going to change in a hurry this season.
Berger is back after finishing 2022 strong in the final four games. He really seemed to turn a corner and look like a different back when he got some confidence. There’s a good chance he’s the starting running back to begin the season and he’s a legit 1,000-yard rushing threat.
Nathan Carter transferred in from UConn after impressing as a freshman and through his first four games in 2022 before an injury. I expect big things from him. Maybe K9 lite?
Lastly, Jaren Mangham brings in a ton of experience from South Florida after beginning his career at Colorado under Mel Tucker. People seem to forget he’s in the group, but he’s going to have a large impact this season.
Put those three guys together behind the healthiest offensive line in the Tucker era and you’ll see a ton of production.
If I were to venture a guess, Michigan State will average nearly 200 rushing yards per game this year.