No. 20 Michigan State gets on track offensively, routs Western Michigan, 51-17

Spartans rout Broncos

By Gracenote

Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans walks on the field with the team before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 17, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 20 Michigan State's offense seemed to respond from a poor performance in its season opener in a big way. 

The Spartans amassed 582 yards of total offense, the most they've had in a game since 2014, and cruised to a 51-17 win over Western Michigan. 

 

Michigan State's defense set a school record by holding the Golden Hurricane to minus-73 yards rushing, the fewest by an FBS school since 2000. Coach Mark Dantonio's offense wasn't quite as dominant, as the Spartans won 28-7 thanks in part to a defensive touchdown. Connor Heyward led the Michigan State ground attack with just 43 yards on 15 carries, while quarterback Brian Lewerke passed for 192 yards in the win. Quarterback Jon Wassink led the Western Michigan effort in the opener, passing for 368 yards and five touchdowns in the victory.

ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN (1-0)

The Broncos are going to want to go to the air against Michigan State, but they are going to have to protect Wassink in the process. Monmouth had only one sack against Western Michigan in the opener, but the Spartans are certainly a step up in competition, especially defensively. The Broncos managed 90 yards on 33 rushing attempts against Monmouth and coach Tim Lester will try to keep the MSU defense on its toes with a balanced attack behind Wassink and running back Pete Guerriero (107 yards, one TD in opener).

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (1-0)

There was a lot of optimism around the Michigan State fan base with Brad Salem taking over as offensive coordinator this season. That optimism was lost quickly in the opener, with the Spartans managing 303 total yards and having three field goals set up by drives that couldn't gain 10 yards. The biggest problem came in the running game, with Michigan State averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, and the Spartans' total offensive output of 303 yards ranks 100th in the nation.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Western Michigan is 1-28 against ranked foes in its program's history, with the lone win being a November 2015 victory at Toledo.

2. Michigan State DE Kenny Willekes was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording seven tackles -- 2.5 for a loss -- as well as 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries, one of which he turned into a touchdown, against Tulsa.

3. Dantonio is one win away from tying Duffy Daugherty for the most coaching victories (109) in Michigan State history.

PREDICTION: Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 21

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