It was the 100th career win for head coach Mark Dantonio and his sixth ten-win season at the helm of Michigan State football — the program had just two 10-win seasons in its history prior to his arrival.
There were several Spartans whose performance stood out in last night’s win, but here are five players who stood out in the Holiday Bowl.
1. Brian Lewerke, QB
Lewerke, who was named the offensive MVP, had a great game. He missed a couple of throws in the early going, but once he settled down he looked great. Making plays with both his legs and his feet, Lewerke completed 13 of 21 passes for 213 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, while adding 73 yards on 14 carries on the ground. Lewerke protected the ball, made good throws and was deadly when throwing deep.
Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke connected on four deep shots for 2 TDs last night in the Spartans Holiday Bowl victory over Washington State. pic.twitter.com/5cMhOuupk3— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) December 29, 2017
2. LJ Scott, RB
Scott was a man on a mission from his first snap, taking his first carry of the game 17 yards. He finished with 18 rushes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Much to the delight of Spartan fans, Scott announced in a post-game interview that he will be returning for his senior season, which seems like the right decision after a bit of a disappointing season overall. He will be a force in 2018.
3. Cody White, WR
White has become a freshman sensation and he looks to be a star on this offense for years to come. White only caught three passes for 41 yards, but two of them were for touchdowns and the other one was a nice jumping catch on the sideline. He set an MSU true freshman record, finishing the year with 490 receiving yards. We should all be excited to see what he can do in 2018.
Now with 31 yards tonight so far on two catches in the @HolidayBowlGame, Cody White has set a new MSU true freshman record for most receiving yards in a season, now with 480 yards so far and still counting! #HolidayBowl #GoGreen— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) December 29, 2017
4. Felton Davis III, WR
Davis had an egregious drop on a fourth down play in the first quarter, but after that he went into beast mode. Davis finished the game with four receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown, which came on a beautiful 49-yard bomb from Brian Lewerke. Davis just out-muscled the Washington State defensive backs on a couple of his grabs and burned the confused defense on the long touchdown. He’s back next year, y’all.
5. Chris Frey, LB
Frey won defensive MVP honors, and finished his college career with a six-tackle performance. He also recovered a fumble, which gave MSU the ball at the Wazzu 27-yard line. The offense quickly turned that great field position into six points. We’ll miss Frey’s leadership and ability in 2018, but what a great career he had and it was nice to see him go out with a 10-win season after Michigan State’s miserable campaign his junior year.
Honorable mention: Joe Bachie, LB
Bachie was his usual self, recording six tackles and flying around the football field. He didn’t do anything too eye-popping, but he did have a clutch onside kick recovery when the momentum was swinging toward Washington State. Remembering that he is just a sophomore and will be quarterbacking the defense for the foreseeable future is all I need to know about this unit’s potential going forward.
Wazzu fumbles. Chris Frey recovers. Joe Bachie says first down MSU. pic.twitter.com/47ICkOsZE6— Jay Sarkar (@WLNSJaySarkar) December 29, 2017
It was a great way for the Spartans to end their surprising 2017 run. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but with the talent this team is returning next season, MSU should be primed to make a run in the Big Ten East in 2018.