College

Franchise Top 25: #20 Michigan State Spartans

Franchise Top 25: #20 Michigan State Spartans

The Michigan State Spartans look primed for a bounce back season, and take the 20th spot in the Franchise Top 25 Countdown.

Last season, the Spartans were decimated by injuries on the offense. Michigan State ended the season 7-6, capped off by a 7-6 loss to Oregon in the Redbox Bowl.

Senior quarterback Brian Lewerke returns for his fourth season in charge of the Spartan offense. Before injuring his shoulder last season, Lewerke completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,587 yards. Back healthy, Lewerke’s production should resemble his 2017 production, where he only threw 7 interceptions.

Mark Dantonio’s rushing attack returns three of its top four producers from last season. Michigan State also adds true freshman Anthony Williams, who drew rave reviews for his performances this spring in East Lansing.

The wide receiver room was hit particularly hard with the injury bug last season. This understandably caused a drop in production from the Spartan pass catchers, but it also allowed for the underclassmen to get impactful game reps.

Led by Cody White, eight of the nine top pass catchers from last season return from 2018.

The strength of the Spartan offense will likely come from the trenches.

Michigan State returns all five starters on the offensive line, as well as an additional two rotational offensive lineman who started games last season.

The offensive line will always be of importance in Dantonio’s run-heavy offense, especially when the defense is playing at the level many expect from the Spartans this season.

Raequan Williams returns to anchor the center of the defensive line, coming off of a third team All-Big 10 selection last season. Williams recorded 53 tackles (8.5 for loss) and 2 sacks last season from the nose tackle position last year.

Fourth team All-American linebacker Joe Bachie returns at the heart of the defense as well after starting every game for Michigan State last season.

Michigan State has a difficult task ahead of them with their schedule this season.

Back to back road trips to Ohio State and Wisconsin lay ahead of the Spartans.

Oddly, Michigan State has a bye week before and after they host Penn State, coming on the heels of their previously mentioned road trips.

A trip to the Big House also lays ahead for Michigan State, as they hit the road to face their in-state rivals.

With ample opportunity to pull road upsets, the Spartans could very well find themselves in the mix for a New Year’s Six berth come December.

 

Catch up on the rest of the Franchise Top 25:

#21 Mississippi State Bulldogs

#22 Nebraska Cornhuskers

#23 Stanford Cardinal

#24 Iowa Hawkeyes

#25 Northwestern Wildcats

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