Michigan State kicks off their season Friday night in East Lansing against Boise State. It should be fun, nationally televised night games in EL always are. MSU is ranked #13, while Boise State comes into town at #24. The two teams had great seasons last year combining for 23 wins including victories in their bowl games.
The Spartans and Broncos have high hopes again, but each lost key starters including their quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Kellen Moore to the NFL. It will be a challenge for both teams to get their passing game going with new quarterbacks, especially in the first game of the year.
Junior Andrew Maxwell will be making his first start for the Spartans. The good news is he has Le’veon Bell to hand the ball to behind a solid offensive line. Bell is going to be a work horse this year. Maxwell also benefits by having one of the best defenses in the nation on his side. Led by potential All-American defensive end William Gholston and linebacker Max Bullough (team leading 89 tackles last year), the Spartan D will shut down the Broncos.
MSU’s offense should be able to take advantage of a depleted Bronco’s defense. Defensive lineman Shea McClellan is now in the NFL, and three other starting lineman and their top three linebackers are gone from a year ago.
Look for MSU to get Bell going early against the inexperienced front, which will hopefully open up the passing game and enable Maxwell to build some rapport with his young receivers. Will any receivers (Fowler, Lippett, Arnett, Mumphrey, Sims) stand out in this game? Look for tight end Dion Sims to be a go-to-guy early.
Boise State’s new starting quarterback is junior Joe Southwick, also making his first career start. He will not have the benefit of star running back Doug Martin, also now in the NFL. However he does have a solid receiving corp led by Matt Miller. Miller had 62 receptions and nine touchdowns a year ago.
But I really don’t think this passing game has a chance against the secondary of MSU, cornerback Johnny Adams and hard hitting safety Isaiah Lewis will make sure of that.
This is an important game for the Spartans if they want to make it to a BCS game this year. To get a win in Maxwell’s first start against a ranked opponent would be a huge momentum boost going forward.
Boise State’s head coach Chris Petersen always has his team ready to play, as the Broncos have won all six season openers under Petersen. Who cares…Spartans win 30-10.