Week Five Preview: Michigan State

Maryland moved to 3-1 after a tough 34-27 loss against #4 ranked Michigan on Saturday. Now the Terps move onto the Spartans as they welcome them this weekend for a 3:30 PM kickoff. After Maryland opened as a 3.5-point favorite against Michigan St., according to FanDuel Sportsbook, the line has since moved to 6.5. Maryland is 3-1 against the spread through the first four weeks of the season. ESPN gives Maryland a 64.6% chance to top Michigan State this weekend.

Michigan State Spartans Preview


Head Coach: Mel Tucker, 3rd year at Michigan State, 13-7
4th year overall, 18-14, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 11-2, Conference: 7-2
2022 Record: 2-2 (0-1)

Last: L, Minnesota 34 – 7 Michigan State

Michigan State Spartans: Offense

The transfer portal isn’t going to play the big role on the offensive side like it will for the defense, but …

The Spartans went out and themselves two terrific backs to replace Kenneth Walker. Jalen Berger was a super-recruit for Wisconsin who didn’t work out, but the talent is there to blow up in the rotation with Broussard and a few other good backs. Now they need a line to work behind.

There’s some reworking to do with a few key lost starters, and the depth needs to be developed. However getting guard Brian Greene from Washington State helps, and the left side is decent with OT Jarrett Horst and OG JD Duplain, two experienced vets.

Quarterback Payton Thorne was under the radar even with a strong 3,233-yard, 27 touchdown season. Walker was the star of the show, but when the offense didn’t have nine in the backfield for the bowl game, Thorne showed up in the clutch with a season-high 354 yards and three scores. He can move enough to matter, doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, and can get the ball deep.

The running backs should be the stars, but Jayden Reed might be the second-best receiver in the Big Ten behind OSU’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Reed returned from injury last weekend and reeled in four catches for 27 yards.

He hit the 1,000-yard mark last year with ten scores averaging over 17 yards per catch, Tre Mosley will be a reliable No. 2, and Illinois transfer Daniel Barker should be an All-Big Ten-caliber tight end.

Michigan State Spartans: Defense

Mel Tucker made his name as a defensive coach, Scottie Hazelton has been around the defensive assistant block, and there’s talent on the Spartan D. There’s just no excuse to have the worst pass defense in America again.

The pass rush is a killerMichigan State led the Big Ten in sacks and was second in tackles for loss with the production coming from enough places to keep it all going despite losing top pass rushers Jacob Panasiuk and Drew Beesley. Khris Bogle is coming in from Florida to go on the other side of second-leading sacker Jeff Pietrowski.

The ends will be more than fine, especially around a fantastic rotation at tackle that should be a wall against the run. 315-pound senior Jacob Slade is the best of the bunch with 285-pound sophomore Simeon Barrow not far behind.

A name that should pop up in everyones head from this past off season is Jacoby Windmon who can take all the production he generated at UNLV last year and bring it to the middle linebacking spot. 75 tackled last season, Qavaris Crouch left through the transfer portal, but Cal Haladay is back on the weakside after finishing second on the team with 96 stops and Mississippi State’s Aaron Rule will be a factor.

The secondary has to be night-and-day better, and it starts with getting Ameer Speed from Georgia for one corner spot. The recruiting class will play a big role overall, but the starting five will at least be loaded with experience, Safety Xavier Henderson led the team with 96 tackles.

Michigan State Spartans: Key Transfer

CB Ameer Speed, Sr.
UNLV LB Jacoby Windmon and running backs Jalen Berger (Wisconsin) and Jarek Broussard (Colorado) might be stronger gets, but the pass defense that desperately needs playmakers has to get a big year out of Speed.

A great recruit for Georgia, Speed has 6-3, 210-pound safety size for a corner. He didn’t do much for the Bulldogs, though, with just 25 tackles and one broken up pass in his five seasons.

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