Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 9:30 AM EST Nov 19, 2018 LINCOLN, Neb. — Rocky Lombardi stuck to his script. “I didn’t see any drops.” You didn’t see any drops? “No.” Of course, Michigan State’s quarterback saw them. Every one of the 88,793 bundled-up fans in Memorial Stadium did. His coaches did. Even his defense did from the sidelines. At least seven of Lombardi’s 25 incompletions touched his intended receivers’ hands —some high, some wide, some right on target. But he wanted to put the blame on himself and not spread it around. That’s simply a quarterback protecting his teammates and avoid division. That’s all the Spartans can do right now as a group. MSU arrives at the final game of a tumultuous regular season in a tenuous spot. Not just at quarterback, where coach Mark Dantonio continues to try and juggle Lombardi and Brian Lewerke. But with an entire offense that continues a drop also … [Read more...] about Michigan State football’s Dantonio has tough decisions ahead
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Jeff Seidel Detroit Free Press Published 6:56 PM EDT Oct 6, 2018 EAST LANSING — Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel tackles the tough questions after Northwestern’s 29-19 victory over Michigan State on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. What is wrong with Brian Lewerke? Statistically, he wasn’t horrible on Saturday. He completed 31 of 51 passes for 329 yards with a touchdown. But he was not sharp. "It's not in the yards sometimes, it's in the production and the points behind it," MSU coach Mark Dantonio said. Lewerke threw too many bad passes. And he didn’t see some open receivers. Cody White was out with an injury, but this was more than that. “He's got to play better obviously than he did,” Dantonio said. What's the problem? To begin with, MSU does not have a consistent running game, and that makes everything harder for a quarterback. It can even mess with a quarterback’s head. Lewerke admitted that he might be pressing a … [Read more...] about Michigan State football: What’s wrong with Brian Lewerke?
Souichi Terada Special to Detroit Free Press Published 7:00 AM EDT Oct 4, 2018 EAST LANSING — Two years ago, Northwestern ruined Michigan State football's homecoming by scoring 54 points at Spartan Stadium – the most points ever given up in the Mark Dantonio era. One year later, the Wildcats prevailed in a 39-31 triple-overtime thriller. Now, MSU welcomes Clayton Thorson and the Wildcats for a yet another homecoming date on Saturday (noon, Fox Sports 1). More: Northwestern holds the blueprint to beat Michigan State Northwestern moved down the field last year with short passes, using a slew of underneath and crossing routes. For an MSU passing defense ranked 114th in the nation – giving up 288.3 yards per game through the air – it’ll be an important test as the Spartans enter the bulk of Big Ten play. “We got to find them,” captain Khari Willis said of the underneath routes. “We got to break up on them. We got to trust what we … [Read more...] about Michigan State football too familiar with Northwestern offense
Sean Merriman Special to Detroit Free Press Published 10:35 AM EDT Oct 3, 2018 While Michigan State football is off to a 3-1 start this season and set to host Northwestern on Saturday (noon, Fox Sports 1), there is still plenty of work to be done on the recruiting front for Mark Dantonio and his staff. The Spartans have 16 verbal commitments in the 2019 class, and will likely add three to five more prospects to a class that ranks No. 26 nationally, according to 247Sports.com. There aren’t one or two recruits who appear to be obvious locks for this class right now, but there are several prospects that the Spartans are targeting. More: Michigan football: Top 5 2019 recruiting targets heavy on accolades Here is a look at five recruits MSU is currently in the running for: Josh Calvert Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian 4-star LB Calvert is the top prospect on MSU’s board right now. He stars on both sides of the ball for Oaks Christian but projects to play … [Read more...] about Michigan State football: Top 5 2019 targets focus on lines
Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 3:59 PM EDT Oct 2, 2018 EAST LANSING — Michigan State football’s strengths are visible – throwing the ball on offense, stopping the run on defense. It’s weaknesses also are apparent – a sputtering rushing game and slowly improving pass coverage. There is time to improve the bad. There also is a chance the good may not be as good against better competition. The next four weeks, coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday, will dictate who the 19th-ranked Spartans really are. “I think you try and find your identity of every football team, and you don't know when that's going to could come,” Dantonio said during his weekly news conference. “And I talked to our team yesterday about that. What's our identity?” The next step in discovering it comes Saturday, when MSU hosts Northwestern (noon, Fox Sports 1). More: Dantonio: MSU injury bug 'an opportunity' for others to play The Spartans (3-1, 1-0) have … [Read more...] about Michigan State football earnest title run starts on Saturday