What’s in store for Michigan State through the first four games of the 2018 season?
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31st – vs UTAH STATE
Thank you for that, Logan, Utah Chamber of Commerce – your community looks pretty cool.
Utah State comes to East Lansing after head coach Matt Wells took the Aggies to the NOVA Home Loans Arizona bowl where they came up short in overtime, losing 26-20 to New Mexico State, completing a 6-7 season.
After six seasons, Wells has led to the Aggies to 34-32 mark.
The Aggies will be trying to find a way to run the ball after losing 2017’s leading rusher, LaJuan Hunt (828 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017) to graduation and no real obvious replacement that appears ready to rock.
Considering that Michigan State’s rush defense has a shot at being one of the nation’s best (after finishing 2017 with the #2 rushing defense in the nation), the apparent lack of an Aggie rushing attack bodes well for the Spartans.
Another positive for Michigan State – Utah State finished 2017 with a defense that ranked 115th in the nation against the run. The Aggies gave up 200 yards or more seven times.
Look for the Spartan offensive line to use this opener as a springboard to a huge season.
LJ Scott runs for 175 yards as part of a 250 yard overall rushing day – and Brian Lewerke is smooth and crisp through the air on a beautiful late summer night along the banks of the Red Cedar.
One thing that is worth examining when it comes to Utah State – Merlin Olsen.
Aside from being a Hall of Famer thanks to his contributions to the LA Rams Fearsome Foursome, aside from his memorable contributions to so many Rose Bowl broadcasts alongside Dick Enberg, and aside from being a proud Utah man who played so well for the Utah State Aggies while being an equally proud Sigma Chi, Merlin Olsen brought calm and wonder to our living rooms with his on-screen roles on Little House On The Prairie and, of course, his altruistic portrayal of Father Murphy –
Utah State – 13
Michigan State – 37
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th – at ARIZONA STATE
Herm Edwards is now the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Inside sources have relayed to SpartansWire that Rich Kotite was offered the job but respectfully turned it down citing his desire to continue to spend time with his family.
Edwards takes over a team with a defense that is as leaky as something that’s really, really leaky – but at least the team is inexperienced.
The Sun Devils do have a quarterback, it seems, in returning gunslinger Manny Wilkins – and Wilkins has some studs to chuck the ball to. But the Michigan State secondary is slightly different than the secondary Arizona State faces when they battle for their Territorial Cup against Arizona.
People out where I live like to say that the Arizona State vs Arizona rivalry is just like the Michigan State vs UMAA rivalry.
When these people say this to me, I say to them that a well made stack of flapjacks is just like a helicopter made by Northrop Grumman.
Arizona State’s defense loses all of its linebackers, two of its defensive linemen, and parts of its secondary.
Going all the way out to the desert has the potential for tricky challenges. But when was the last time Mark Dantonio didn’t get his program properly prepared for this type of a game?
Michigan State – 31
Arizona State – 10
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th – OFF
SpartansWire is going on record with the prediction that things will go smoothly for Michigan State during this week.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd – at INDIANA
This game has “DANGER” written all over it.
Losing Simmie Cobbs at wide receiver and Ian Thomas at tight end is not going to help the Hoosiers in what is looking like a rebuilding year for IU.
What’s worse for Indiana is the loss of eight starters on defense that gave Michigan State fits last season before the Spartans managed to pull out the tight, hard fought win late.
But this game isn’t going to be about matchups or even scheme.
This game is going to be about the 19- and 20-year old Spartans harnessing the focus Dantonio instills in them for sixty minutes of football in front of a lethargic crowd, against a team that doesn’t inspire much venom, and on a day that comes during a potential lull in the program’s season-long attempt to concentrate.
However, with just a couple of exceptions that are merely due to the machinery at their disposal, Mark Dantonio is peerless.
Michigan State – 26
Indiana – 21
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th – vs CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Raise your hand if you were in Spartan Stadium on September 14th 1991.
Central Michigan – 20
Michigan State – 3
Raise your hand if you were in Spartan Stadium on September 12, 1992.
Central Michigan – 24
Michigan State – 20
Raise your hand if you were in Spartan Stadium on September 12th, 2009.
Central Michigan – 29
Michigan State – 27
Raise your hand if it hurt your eyeballs to read the previous few blurbs within this specific section of the article you’re reading.
Central Michigan has managed to give Michigan State all sorts of fits – and they’ve delivered those fits right inside of Spartan Stadium.
Spartan Stadium can be – and often is – one of the most intense, fan-crazed home field advantages in all of college football. It’s certainly one of the most underrated places for a home team to play its games in.
However, it also has a penchant for being a House of Horrors for the home team and its fans.
Another of Mark Dantonio’s miracle works during his time as head coach has been his ability to exorcise the demons that have plagued the old stadium so often. He got his own taste of the demons in 2009 when Central Michigan scored a touchdown with under a minute to play, converted an onside kick, and then converted a game winning field goal to pull off another upset in East Lansing.
Central Michigan has only four starters back on offense and only five starters back on defense from last year’s 8-5 team.
The Chips were awful on third down last year and now they’ll need to find a way to convert with a new quarterback and a whole new slew of receivers.
No House of Horrors this season, Spartans.
Central Michigan – 14
Michigan State – 38
Michigan State caps off the first third of the 2018 season unblemished and firmly within the nation’s Top 10.
Massive battles loom as the weather starts to turn, the leaves begin to change colors, UMAA discusses where its September National Championship Trophy should go, people fawn all over the brilliance of Pat Fitzgerald, nobody notices or cares about anything at all that happens with Purdue, and Penn State people continue to claim it was all just a carefully orchestrated and sinister media conspiracy.
At 4-0 as the calendar changes to October, Michigan State has its eyes on a four-game stretch that will determine whether this is one of the biggest seasons in Michigan State history or not….