Michigan State(1-0) will be traveling to Mount Pleasant to take on in-state foe Central Michigan(1-0) on Saturday.
The Spartans will face a team that they defeated 45-7 last season in East Lansing, and a team that is led by former Spartan assistant coach Dan Enos. Enos hasn’t had much success in his first couple seasons at Central, going just 3-9 in his first two seasons.
Central Michigan features a rushing attack that racked up 324 yards last week against Southeast Missouri State, beating them 38-27 in the season opener. Although the running game was stellar for the Chippewas, the passing game wasn’t as impressive with quarterback Ryan Radcliff passing for just 174 yards on 14 completions.
The Spartans have a lot of question marks heading into week two. Who is going to emerge at receiver? Will Andrew Maxwell be comfortable at quarterback? Will Le’Veon Bell have to carry the load again? How will the defense hold up against a strong run game?
With that said, here are the players to watch in this game for Michigan State.
Andrew Maxwell, QB
Maxwell had his starting quarterback debut for the Spartans last Friday night against a solid Boise State team and played well. Although he threw three interceptions in his first real test, two of them were tipped passed that his receivers should have caught. He has yet to throw his first touchdown for Michigan State, but once he does he will likely ease into the role with much of the pressure off of his shoulders. Look for him to have a big game through the air and pass for his first touchdown as starting quarterback.
Tony Lippett, WR
Many people may not even know the name Tony Lippett, but after this week he will most likely emerge as Maxwell’s favorite target. Lippett had a week one performance with mixed results. On one hand, he was the second leading receiver with three catches for 62 yards. On the other hand he had a huge fumble after a long reception that cost the Spartans a score and a tipped pass that he caught and let go of into the defenders’ hands. If he is going to take the place of former receiver B.J. Cunningham, he will have to look the ball in and be able to take a hit, otherwise he may find himself slipping down the depth chart.
William Gholston, DE
Gholston was one of the biggest surprises in week one, but not in a good way. He started week one with a batted ball and forcing Boise State’s running back inside with his strong outside contain. Throughout the game, though, the 6’6″, 280 lb monster seemingly disappeared. He wasn’t the force he is used to being on the defensive line, mostly because he found himself the target of double teams throughout the night. For him to have success, he needs to evade the initial block and run down the quarterback. He failed to put any pressure on Boise State’s Joe Southwick last week and that’s something he will be keeping in the back of his mind. Look for him to put up huge numbers against Central on Saturday.
Le’Veon Bell, RB
Probably the most impressive performance out of any in week one of college football, Bell catapulted himself into Heisman trophy consideration. He ran the ball 44 times for 210 yards and the Spartans’ only two touchdowns. He performed like a star and that was something they were hoping he would do going into the season. He will look to run over a less impressive defense than he faced in week one and put up bigger numbers with less carries. He may not even play the fourth quarter if the game is in hand. Bell will once again find himself among Heisman talks following this game and could very well be the second-best running back in the conference.