Michigan State football is aiming to gain some momentum in a Week 5 battle against Central Michigan. What must the Spartans do?
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Facing what Mark Dantonio calls a “rivalry game-type thing” on Saturday afternoon against Central Michigan, Michigan State has a chance to do something it hasn’t really done all season long, and that’s gain momentum.
The Spartans have started the trend in the right direction with a 14-point win at Indiana and now they need to take care of the Chippewas to head back into Big Ten action with momentum on their side.
Central, on the other hand, is struggling. The Chippewas were smacked by Kentucky to start the year, throttled by Kansas (yes, that Kansas) and beaten by Northern Illinois to start MAC play before getting their first win of the season against Maine in a 17-5 thriller.
The Chippewas have a lackluster offense, averaging just over 250 yards per game, while the defense is slightly better. Still, they could be in for a rude awakening against the nation’s best run defense in East Lansing.
Michigan State’s run defense has shown up the secondary, but they could both have big games on Saturday.
Brian Lewerke and that offense, too, need to get going. The quarterback had a rough game against the Hoosiers, but has had an overall solid season. This is a good opportunity for him to get his groove back and the run game to start gaining steam as well.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 29
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Venue: Spartan Stadium
TV: FOX Sports 1
Live Stream: FOX Sports Go or FuboTV
For Michigan State to take care of business, it’ll need to get that ground game going. Forget Lewerke, LJ Scott and Co. need to start racking up the yardage on the ground and the offensive line must show that it’s more than a slightly-above average unit that could only truly handle opponents in the MAC.
It needs to dominate all day long and open lanes for Scott, Connor Heyward, La’Darius Jefferson and Weston Bridges. If the run game is working, everything else will take care of itself.
Defensively, getting after quarterback Tommy Lazzaro is his second career start could only mean good things for this side of the ball. Making him uncomfortable in the pocket will only force him into some questionable decisions. He’s going to make some poor choices if the pressure is on and if the line can play like it did against Indiana, the Spartans will wreak serious havoc.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark
Line: Michigan State -28.5
This one shouldn’t be all that close, and it won’t be. Central will keep things tight in the first quarter and the Spartans will find a way to break loose and open up the passing attack thanks to the run game being established. Scott will finally rush for 100-plus yards and Lewerke will complete 75 percent of his throws for 250 yards and three scores. This one will be decided by halftime and we may even see some Rocky Lombardi late — and I’m not talking about punting.