After a couple of games against markedly inferior teams, MSU will play its last non-conference game against the University of Washington Huskies to complete a home-and-home series. Last year, the Spartans traveled to the Emerald City and picked up their first loss of the season, falling 39-28. Well, now it’s payback time.
I know that many of you are predicting the opposite from the comments I have read this offseason. But let me calm that fear for you. Last year, MSU started the season ranked #15, moved up to #14 after week 1, and climbed to #11 before their week 3 visit to Washington. That is when the wheels came off. This year, Washington is going into the season ranked #11, and similar to MSU’s first two games of last year (and this year for that matter), the Huskies play their first two games at home against non-power 5 teams. Each year, there are usually a couple of teams that go into the season ranked in the top ten and who ultimately end their season on the outside of the rankings. I know 11 is not top ten, but I am predicting a similar fall from preseason hype for the 2023 Huskies.
I was watching the MSU/Washington game last season on TV and at one point in the game, commentator Robert Griffin III made a comment along the lines of the reason that Huskies QB Michael Penix is so good is because he has “Big Penix Energy”. Yeah, that’s right. That was a statement that the commentator made on ABC. I just thought to myself, “You probably shouldn’t say that on the air.” And sure, Michael Penix does have a 2-1 career record against MSU, having gone 1-1 from his time at Indiana. But one of those earlier wins was in Mel Tucker’s pandemic-altered first season and the other win was on the west coast. So really, the guy has never won at The Woodshed.
You know what happens when a Penix goes into a Woodshed? Bad things that I am contractually prohibited from typing. But know this. After a week of Tucker really taking it to his team as a result of them not beating Richmond as decisively as he wanted them to, this team is coming out with a new edge to them. This will be the turning point in the season, the game where we will all say, “Yeah, this MSU team is good.”
Look for a couple of our WRs to have a breakout game as they look to send a message to former Spartan and current Husky Germie Bernard that he was wrong to leave. Look for the suddenly experienced and deep offensive line to repeatedly open holes for our RB stable to blast through. Look for the defense to seek revenge on an offense that gashed them for over 500 yards a year ago. The pressure will get home early and often. Penix will not be able to stay up.
The Huskies won this game by 11 points last year. This year, MSU has them looking more like chihuahuas. The student section continues to be boisterous, aided by this being the first game where alcohol sales will occur inside Spartan Stadium. And MSU completes their non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record.
12 days until the season opener! Time to get your man caves prepared and start brewing your homemade green beer.