MSU’s offense was off to a slow start, but nonetheless, a string of touchdown scores allowed the Spartans to put the Broncos away.
Now, Michigan State can rest easy knowing its next opponent is the Akron Zips. That’s right, MSU is playing back-to-back teams from the Mid-American Conference. However, these are teams from opposite ends of the conference.
Western Michigan has the tools to compete for a conference championship in 2022. Akron doesn’t, unless a miracle happens.
Since the end of 2018, Akron has won a grand total of four football games. The Zips were winless in 2019, defeated Bowling Green in 2020, defeated Bowling Green (again) and Bryant last season, and opened the 2022 campaign with a slim victory in overtime against FCS opponent Saint Francis last weekend.
For Akron’s sake, hopefully the worst is behind the Zips. The university fired head coach Tom Arth at the end of last season. His record at the program was 3-24.
Insert new hire, Joe Moorhead. Akron’s new coach has been the head coach at Mississippi State and, more recently, the offensive coordinator at Oregon. He’s taken over a program that is in rough shape.
For MSU, this shouldn’t be treated as though it’s some easy game, however. Head coach Mel Tucker will likely want MSU to play from wire to wire, down to the final play of the game.
With that said, Michigan State wide receivers Jayden Reed, Keon Coleman and Tre Mosley should be too fast and too talented for Akron’s secondary, and Payton Thorne should be able to pick the Zips apart. After a few big plays, fans may get to see backup quarterbacks Noah Kim or Katin Houser — and likely several other depth players getting reps as well.
Thorne completed just 50 percent of his passes last week, missing a few throws he should have hit and throwing an interception. The Zips allowed Saint Francis to throw for 264 yards last week. Akron should be the perfect opponent for Thorne to get into a groove against and build his confidence further.
If Michigan State wants to ride momentum into next week’s matchup against Washington, this game against Akron is a vital place to start.
Time: 4 p.m. Eastern Time
TV Channel: Big Ten Network
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan