Get to know the opponent: Michigan State

Michigan State has won its last two matchups against Maryland

Michigan State is fifth in the Big 10 standings, one spot above the Maryland Terrapins. The Spartans have won eight of the last 10 matchups against the Terrapins. It will be big game for head coach Mark Dantonio, who could be coaching to retain his job this Saturday. 

Strengths

The Spartans have a quality playmaker on the offense in junior receiver Cody White. He leads the team in catches (54), receiving yards (741), and touchdowns (5). The 6-3 215-pound receiver has been a mismatch against small defensive backs. Though he is not very fast, he runs good routes and catches almost anything thrown his way.

Their defense is led by senior defensive end Kenny Willekes. Though he has taken a step back from last season, Willekes leads the team with 7.5 sacks. He is projected to be a day two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Michigan State has a solid front seven, with solid contributions from their tackle leader in Antjuan Simmons and interior rusher Raequan Williams.

Weaknesses

Ever since Brian Lewerke's breakout 2017 season when he led the Spartans to a 10-3 record, he has not been able to play at the same level. This season, he has completed only 57 percent of his passes and scored 17 touchdowns. Against ranked opponents, the Spartans have been outscored 144-27.

On the stat sheet, freshman running back Elijah Collins looks good with 851 rushing yards. In four of the last five games, he averaged less than four yards per carry. His overall performance on the season has exceeded the Spartan's expectations but teams have been successful with limiting his effectiveness lately.

The Spartans will be without senior linebacker Joe Bachie, who has been suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He tried to appeal his suspension but has been denied. Bachie is arguably Michigan State's top player and unfortunately for him, he has played his last down with the team.

Overall

Much like the Terrapins, the Spartans started their season strong winning the first two games of the season. When facing some of the top teams in college football, they get humiliated. Despite Michigan State's disappointing season, having an experienced head coach in Dantonio has kept the Spartans from completely falling apart. The Terrapins' quarterback situation is one of the worst in college football, giving the Spartans a significant advantage. 

Comments