The Spartans will make their second ever trip to Sun Devil Stadium to take on Arizona State Saturday, September 8th at 10:45 p.m. EDT. This will be the first meeting between the two universities since 1986 and just the third time in school history.
Last weekend, MSU won their 20th straight home opener with a 38-31 victory over Utah State in Spartan Stadium. After trailing with 5:05 left in the fourth quarter, quarterback Brian Lewerke led the Spartans down the field for the game winning touchdown (nine plays, for 75 yards, in 3:05).
The game was capped off by junior linebacker Joe Bachie who tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and miraculously came down with the interception to seal the victory for MSU. He finished the night with 11 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
While waiting for Mark Dantonio to take the podium the Spartans released the depth chart for week two against Arizona State with a few minor changes.
Tyriq Thompson and Brandon Bouyer-Randle still listed as co-starters at Sam LB spot. Thompson got the start vs. Utah State. Otherwise depth chart is fairly status quo from Week 1.— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) September 4, 2018
- Luke Campbell or Cole Chewins at LT
- Cole Hahn listed as the sole starter for kickoffs
- Ryan Armour lone starter as the Spartans long snapper
Last week Cole Chewins didn’t play a single snap for MSU nor did he dress for the contest. Michigan State experienced some offensive line issues that they will focus on improving ahead of Saturday night. “Well I don’t really talk about injuries but Cole is practicing, so we’ll leave it at that,” said Dantonio. Chewins being back at practice in any capacity is a good sign for the Spartans O-line.
The Sun Devils sacked the quarterback nine times in their game Saturday night against UTSA (ranked first in FBS) along with plenty of hurries that disrupted the Roadrunner offense. During the first half against Utah State Brian Lewerke was sacked three times which led to two field goals and one turnover for the Spartans.
“Arizona State has a lot of different looks, pressures, and a lot of different angles they come at you with. So we gotta be prepared for that, gotta protect our quarterback,” said Dantonio. “So we’re gonna find out more about our football team and their football team on Saturday night but we have to protect the quarterback. They had nine sacks, as you said, and numerous other quarterback hits.”
Referring back to Utah State Dantonio says he thinks the offensive line got better as the game progressed which resulted in better protection for Lewerke and bigger holes for the running game. Even so, offensive line issues won’t be easy for MSU to fix if Chewins is out for the second week in a row.
Additionally, the Spartans are going to have to be prepared for the Arizona heat. Michigan State has only played on the West Coast two other times under Mark Dantonio. “I don’t think we’re on a high right now that says we aren't going to be prepared for this football game,” Dantonio said. “We have our challenges with an away game, a long plane flight, the heat obviously. Although I think we’ll be playing in a different type of environment here, it’s 90 (degrees) and humid so it’s a dryer heat down there and we’re gonna find out. So there is a lot of challenges waiting for us.”
When the Spartans travel to Tempe on Saturday they will be facing a plethora of challenges. Along with the heat and time difference MSU will be up against the Sun Devils ability to beat Big Ten schools.
Arizona State is 9-0 against Big Ten teams during the regular season at home. All nine games were played in September. The hottest month in college football.
It’s a duel in the desert this Saturday! #GoGreen #HEAVE pic.twitter.com/z6dnw6BwJW— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) September 3, 2018