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ASU Football: First look at Michigan State

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Will there be another upset?

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Arizona State Sun Devils shocked the Michigan State Spartans by beating them 16-13 in Tempe.

The Spartans were 7-5 at the end of the regular season and later fell to 7-6 overall after losing to Oregon in the RedBox Bowl.

This year the Sun Devils will be headed to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan to face the Spartans.

After coming off an ugly win, against the Sacramento State Hornets, the Sun Devils have a lot to work on if they want to beat the Spartans for the second year in a row. Will they be able to do it?

Let’s take a look:

Rebuilding the offense:

The Spartans were ranked one of the lowest offense’s out of all FBS teams last seasons.

However, look for things to change this season on offense as the Spartans had an offensive staff rebuild, which included promoting Brad Salem to offensive coordinator. Salem is heading into his 10th season under head coach Mark Dantonio, who is in his 13th season.

There will likely be some new plays and a refreshed offense that the Sun Devils didn’t see last time the two teams played.

Quarterback Brian Lewerke is back on the field for the Spartans after getting injured last season in their game against Penn State. In their win last week against Western Michigan, he threw for 300 yards for the sixth time in his career.

Lewerke missed the entire season up until the bowl game. He had a breakout year in 2017 throwing for over 2,500 yards along with rushing for 500 yards. Lewerke was first the Spartan to achieve these numbers in Michigan State history.

They will also have returning wide receivers Cody White and Darrell Stewart who both had over 500 yards receiving last season.

Lewerke connected with Stewart last week who caught for 185 yards and had one touchdown. Four of Stewart’s catches were more than 20 yards deep.

A strong defense:

If the Sun Devils come out the way they did against the Hornets, scoring no points until two minutes left in the second half, they might not score any points in the entire game.

The Spartans have one of the best defenses in the nation. They have seven starters returning to the team.

When the two teams met last season, 380 of ASU’s 424 yards came from the passing game. Last week, the Sun Devils had 304 yards receiving with 394 yards total. The Spartans will need to contain wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who has 238 total yards this season.

Last season, the Spartans led the country in run defense, allowing on average 77.9 yards per game.

It wouldn’t be shocking if the Sun Devils continued to work on the pass game, since the run game was not successful against the Hornets. They only had 91 yards rushing last week.

The Michigan State defense could see some new plays from the Sun Devil offense, as ASU head coach Herm Edwards said he would do less offensively if it meant more success.

Both teams are 2-0 right now, which means one team will leave with its first tally in the loss category.