December 27, 2019
By Tony Dixon, for COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRAP-UP(c)
Ypsilanti, MI —
The Spartans of East Lansing (6 – 6, 4 – 5 Big Ten) have certainly had an up and down season so far, but can put this year to rest with a positive spin, if they can turn aside the hopes of Wake Forest (8 – 4, 4 – 4 ACC).
MSU picks up the torch that has been dropped by the other Michigan based college football teams; Hope, Concordia-AA, Ferris St.*, Central Michigan and most recently Eastern Michigan, who all dropped their bowl or playoff games. (*Ferris St. did win their first playoff game, but dropped the second game.)
In Wake Forest’s Demon Deacons, the Spartans will find a foe that has a capable offense, two near 1,000 yard receivers and a chance to win nine games for the first time since 2007. But, much like MSU, this season could have been a lot better that it turned out for the Forest, their season ending loss to Syracuse is still a sore point.
They will be missing their true thousand yard receiver, Sage Surratt (66 catches, 1001 yards and 11 TDs), but Kendall Hinton (70, 953 and 3 TDs) is a still a weapon that the Spartan’s defense will have to keep in check. QB Jamie Newman (2,693 yards, 23 TDs and 10 INTs) leads a potent offense and should have a number of players ready to assist in the absence of Surratt. Running backs Cade Carney (556 yards, 5 TDs) and Kenneth Walker (555 yards and 4 TDs, including a long of 96 yards) will keep the pass rush honest.
MSU will counter with an offense that is led by QB Brian Lewerke (2,759 yards, 16 TDs and 12 INTs.) who will be trying to locate Wide Receivers Cody White (58/825, 5TDs) and Darrell Stewart Jr., (47/694, 4 TDs). Running back Elijah Collins leads the MSU rushing attack (892 yards, 5 TDs), but the next runner with over a 100 yards is…the QB Brian Lewerke! The Spartan’s offense has been much maligned but have averaged 22 PPG vs the 23 PPG that their defense has surrendered. To give credit where due, the defense did run into a few buzz saws during the Big Ten season that included losses to Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and U-M.
The stats show an edge to the Demon Deacons who average 33 PPG while giving up 29 PPG as well as in Total Offense with a 473 YPG average. The Spartan’s defense which averages 319 YPG will be tested throughly. But, there is a quirk that both teams will face…both appear to be first half teams, they score most of their points in the first two quarters. MSU only scored 35 points total in the 3rd quarter for the season. So maybe a good, paint peeling halftime speech will be needed, if the Spartan’s are behind or even ahead at the half.
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Tony Dixon is a Co-host for The College Football Wrap-Up(c), MISPORT-TV’s original content vehicle that reviews the past week’s college football games played by Michigan based colleges and universities across all divisions and conferences. The show also utilizes the TPR(c) (Team Performance Rating) to measure a team’s performance in the past game and also to quantify it’s performance over the seasons games. The teams are then ranked according to their TPR number, the higher the number, the stronger the performances.