Monday huddle: What is the ceiling for MSU, following a convincing road win at Miami?

Spartans opened a lot of eyes with a win at Miami. Now, they must show they can handle prosperity.

Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed (1) celebrates scoring a touchdown against Miami with Michigan State wide receiver Christian Fitzpatrick (16) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept 18, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray) (Doug Murray, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.

A Michigan ‘State-ment’ win

Going into last week’s game at Miami (Florida), many felt it was a measuring stick to see where Michigan State stood facing a ranked team on the road following a 2-0 start.

Well, after a 38-17 victory over the Hurricanes, the Spartans are now measured as the 20th-ranked team in the country via the Associated Press poll following an impressive performance.

MSU was expected to wilt in the South Florida heat late in the game, but the Spartans actually looked like a fresher and more disciplined team throughout than the hometown Hurricanes.

Running back Kenneth Walker already looks like a Heisman Trophy candidate, rushing for 172 yards on 27 carries, while sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne passed for 261 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, the question becomes: What kind of season should people expect of MSU?

The Spartans entered with expectations of a six or seven-win season, but that should be raised now.

Time will tell if MSU can get to eight or nine wins, but that seems more possible now than it did a few weeks ago.

The first step for MSU is showing it can handle newfound attention and prosperity, starting with a 7 p.m. home game against against a reeling-but-capable Nebraska team Saturday.

A program-defining win for Western Michigan

Western Michigan was obviously disappointed with its showing in the season opener at Michigan, losing 47-14, but the Broncos made amends in another road game against a Power 5 opponent on Saturday.

Western Michigan recorded a 44-41 victory at Pittsburgh behind 336 passing yards and three touchdowns from Kaleb Eleby, and 161 receiving yards on eight catches by Corey Crooms.

It was WMU’s first win vs. a Power 5 conference opponent since 2016.

De La Salle prevails over Brother Rice in a battle of Catholic League powers

Two of the most storied prep programs in the state hooked up again on Friday, but this year’s meeting between Warren De La Salle and Birmingham Brother Rice had a little more meaning than in recent years because each team entered 3-0.

The teams treated fans to a close game that was eventually won by De La Salle, 21-16.

Junior quarterback Brady Drogosh passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to help lead the way for the Pilots.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.