The Michigan State Spartans head to Tempe on Saturday lucky to be 1-0. MSU squeaked out a 38-31 victory against Utah State at home. Michigan State fell from No. 11 to No. 15 in the AP Poll due to the lackluster performance.
Michigan State will now travel to Tempe to take on a confident Sun Devil team coming off a dominant, blow out victory over UTSA. This week’s challenge will be an uphill battle for both sides.
MSU has a much more talented roster and an experienced, proven coach. But, traveling to the desert in September has proven impossible for midwest teams to win in Tempe. For ASU, they will be taking a massive leap in the quality of their opponent. For the Sun Devils to succeed they will have to control the clock and make plays on defense.
This will be easier said than done.
Here are some Spartans who could have a big night on Saturday:
QB Brian Lewerke — Junior QB
This game will probably mean a little something extra for the Michigan State signal caller. Lewerke is a Phoenix native and a Pinnacle High School alum, this will be the first time he gets to play in his home state at the collegiate level.
He will provide the Sun Devil defense with a unique challenge, he’s more in the model of a game manager and won’t turn the ball over. The Spartans want to control the clock, this style of play travels well as MSU will try to give their defense as much rest as possible in the heat.
Lewerke threw 20 touchdowns last season in his first year as a starter, and led Michigan State’s game-winning drive against Utah State in Week 1.
WR Felton Davis III — Senior WR
After being a rush-heavy offense in 2017, expect Michigan State to be more willing to throw the ball down the field this season. They have a tremendous wide receiver group, led by Davis.
He burst onto the scene last season as he caught nine touchdown passes and went for 776 total receiving yards. He’s a big, physical receiver standing at 6-foot-4 and will be a tall order for the Sun Devil secondary.
Expect Chase Lucas to follow Davis on Saturday night, Lucas has expressed his confidence in his abilities and will be given an opportunity to compete against a very talented outside threat in Davis.
DT Raequan Williams — Junior DT
ASU’s offensive line completely dominated their matchup against UTSA. The re-tooled unit excelled in pass protection and run blocking, and didn’t allow a single sack.
Stopping the Spartans’ defensive front won’t be nearly as easy, and Raequan Williams is a huge reason why.
Williams was a standout on a defense that finished as the second best rush defense in 2017. At 6-foot-6 300 pounds, he does a tremendous job of clogging running lanes and making life difficult for offensive linemen.
Cohl Cabral and Alex Loyosa will need to be up to the task of trying to shut down Williams, as the Sun Devils will likely try to give Eno Benjamin and Isaiah Floyd a good amount of carries Saturday night.