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Michigan State Football Preview 2020

Written by: Ben Pekay



Sept. 5 Northwestern- Win

Sept. 12 @ BYU- Win

Sept. 19 Toledo- Win

Sept. 26 Miami- Loss

Oct. 3 @ Iowa- Loss

Oct. 10 Michigan- Loss

Oct. 17 Ohio State- Loss

Oct. 24 @ Indiana- Loss

Oct. 31 Minnesota- Loss

Nov. 14 @ Penn State- Loss

Nov. 21 Rutgers-Win

Nov. 28 at Maryland- Loss

Record: 4-8


The 2020 Michigan State football season will be a rebuilding year. Longtime Head Coach Mark Dantonio stepped down over the summer. Michigan State hired Mel Tucker as head coach. Before MSU, Tucker had a stint in the NFL, was the defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2018, and was the head coach of a 5-7 Colorado last year. Last year, Michigan State was 7-6 and won the Pinstripe bowl 27-21 against Wake Forest. On the offensive end, Michigan State loses starting Quarterback Brian Lewerke to the NFL. Either Rocky Lombardi or Theo Day is going to replace Lewerke. Both are very inexperienced and will go through growing pains throughout the year. I expect Lombardi to start on the first day because he has been the backup to Lewerke for the past two years. Michigan State returns Running Back Elijah Collins who ran for 988 yards last year and had 5 touchdowns. He will make up a large portion of MSU’s offense. Michigan State lost its top two wide receivers, Darrell Stewart Jr. and Cody White to the NFL. They have a very inexperienced and young receiving group replacing them. The offense will struggle throughout the season especially against the better teams in the Big Ten. Michigan State also lost 8 starters on defense to the NFL draft including 1st Team All-Big Ten Defensive End Kenny Willekes. They return Linebacker Antjuam Simmons who had 90 tackles last year and 3.5 sacks. The Michigan State defense will keep them in games against weak teams but struggle against the top teams in the division.


The first game of the year for Michigan State is against Northwestern. Northwestern’s starting quarterback will be Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey who threw for 2,454 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Northwestern has little talent around Ramsey and will struggle on offense throughout the year. On the defensive end, they return Linebacker Paddy Fisher who had 88 tackles last year. The Northwestern defense will struggle against better teams this year. This game will be very close, but Michigan State will win because their offense will outperform Northwestern's offense. Next up for Michigan State is BYU. Last year BYU went 7-6. They return Quarterback Zach Wilson who threw for 2,382 yards and 11 touchdowns last year and Tight End Matt Bushman who had an average of 14.6 yards per catch last year and 4 touchdowns. They also have a very experienced offensive line. They also return Khyris Tong who had 45 tackles last year. Their defense will struggle throughout the season. This game will be very close and will come down to a game-winning drive or kick. Michigan State will win because their defense will outplay BYU’s offense. Next up for MSU is Toledo. Last year, Toledo went 6-6 last year. They return Quarterback Eli Peters who threw for 828 yards and 6 touchdowns last year in four games. MSU should win this game because of the talent on their team.


Next up for MSU is a home game against Miami. Last year, Miami went 6-7. Miami’s starting quarterback will be Houston transfer D’Eriq King who threw for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2018. He sat out most of the 2019 season. He is insanely talented and he will put up big numbers for the Hurricanes. They also return Tight End Brevin Jordan who caught 2 touchdowns and had a total of 495 yards last year. On the defensive end, they return Defensive Lineman Gregory Rousseau who was 1st team all ACC last year. He will probably be a top five pick in the upcoming NFL draft this year. He will continue to dominate this year along with the rest of the defense who is also very talented. Miami will blow MSU out and win this game because of the poor play of Rocky Lombardi and the strength of the Miami offense. Next up for MSU is Iowa. Iowa's starting quarterback is Spencer Petras who was Nate Stanley's backup for two years. They also return Wide Receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette who caught 5 touchdowns and had a total of 722 yards last year. Iowa’s defense lost AJ Espenesa, but have enough talent to replace him. Iowa will win this game because their defense will outplay Michigan State’s defense. Next up for MSU is rival Michigan. Michigan is replacing 2019 starting Quarterback Shea Patterson with Dylan McCaffery. McCaffery is a big threat running the ball but will struggle to throw the ball. Michigan returns Running Back Zach Charbonnet who had 726 yards and 11 touchdowns last year and Wide Receiver Ronnie Bell who had 758 yards last year. They both will have a big role in the offense this last year. On the defensive end, they return Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson on the defensive line who had a combined 11 sacks last year. The Michigan defense will be solid this year. Michigan will blow out MSU because McCaffrey will have a better game then Lombardi on offense and MSU won't be able to run against Michigan. After Michigan, MSU has Ohio State. This Ohio State is one of the most talented Ohio State teams in years. They return preseason Heisman candidate Quarterback Justin Fields who threw for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns last year. They also return Wide Receiver Chris Olave who caught 12 touchdowns last year and had 848 yards. Although Ohio State lost Chase Young and Jeff Okudah to the NFL draft, they have plenty of talent to replace them including Cornerback Shaun Wade who had 25 tackles last year and 8 pass deflections. He is probably a future first-round pick. Ohio State will blow out MSU because of the strength of Ohio State’s offense and the poor play of Rocky Lombardi.


Next up for MSU is Indiana. Indiana returns Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. who threw for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns in 6 games last year. They also return Wide Receiver Whop Philyor who had a total of 1,002 yards last year. Their offense will score lots of points this year. On the defensive end, they return Micah McFadden who had 60 tackles and was Indiana’s leading tackler last year. They have depth and experience throughout the defense and have very few weak links. Indiana will beat Michigan State because Michael Penix Jr. will have a good game while Rocky Lombardi will struggle. Next up is Minnesota. Minnesota returns Starting Quarterback Tanner Morgan who threw for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and Rashod Bateman who was the Big Ten’s receiver of the year last year. Bateman had 1,219 receiving yards last year. Their offense will be very hard to stop. On the defensive end, they return Defensive Back Jordan Howard who had 57 total tackles last year with 6 pass deflections. Minnesota will beat MSU because of the talent difference and the good game from Tanner Morgan. Next up for MSU is Penn State. Penn State is also really talented this year. They return starting Quarterback Sean Clifford who threw for 2,654 yards and 23 touchdowns last year. Clifford will continue to improve this year. They also return Wide Receiver Jahan Dotson who had 488 yards and 5 touchdowns last year. On the defensive end, they return Linebacker Micah Parsons who is arguably one of the best linebackers in the country. He had 109 tackles and 5 sacks last year. Penn State will beat Michigan State because of the struggling Rocky Lombardi and the solid play of their offense. Next up for Michigan State is Rutgers. Well, everyone knows about Rutgers. After Rutgers, MSU has Maryland. Maryland’s starting quarterback is anyone’s guess. It could be Josh Jackson who threw for 1,274 yards and 12 touchdowns last year or Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa. They also return Wide Receiver Dontay Demus Jr who had 625 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. Their offense will struggle for consistency throughout this season. On the defensive end, they return Aydine Eley who had 79 tackles last year and was an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team. The Maryland defense does not have a lot of depth and is very inexperienced. Michigan State will lose because Taulia Tagovailoa will have a breakout game and Maryland’s defense will play well enough to win.


This will be a hard season for the Spartans. They have an inexperienced quarterback and a new head coach. The seven-game stretch from when they play Miami to Penn State is a very challenging stretch of the season. If they can even win one or two of these games, they will have a good chance of going to a bowl game. They will go 4-8 this year and miss out on a bowl game. This season will be disappointing for Michigan State, but something to build on in the future.



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