Michigan State certainly didn’t look great when it took the field at Spartan Stadium on Saturday night.
But uniforms aside, the Spartans’ on-field play made a completely different statement. Michigan State fixed its offensive woes from the previous week and downed its in-state opponent Western Michigan in a one-sided 51-17 victory.
Western Michigan’s offense was pitted up against one of the best defenses in the country, a unit which held Tulsa to under -40 rushing yards a week ago. The Broncos didn’t suffer quite the same fate, but the LeVante Bellamy-led rushing unit was limited to 2.5 yards per carry. Bellamy only posted 44 yards on 15 carries.
Through the air, Jon Wassink couldn’t quite replicate his 368-yard, 5-touchdown performance from Week 1. The Spartan defense forced two picks on the reigning MAC Player of the Week, who threw for 237 yards in the 34-point loss.
Michigan State’s offense strung together a trio of touchdowns to pull ahead 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. Wassink connected with tight end Giovanni Ricci on a 14-yard pass at the beginning of the second, but the Spartan offense continued its pulverization.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke tore up Western Michigan’s secondary through the air with a 314-yard, 3-touchdown showing. But the rest of the skill position players delivered in a way they hadn’t in Week 1. Running back Elijah Collins racked up 192 yards on 17 carries while wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. caught 10 passes for 185 yards. Michigan State’s skill players made play after play on a Bronco defense which allowed 582 yards of offense.
Western Michigan’s defense forced two turnovers, but the team was unable to capitalize on either gift. One opportunity resulted in a missed field goal while the other drive finished in a goal line interception right before a half — a 10-point swing in the Spartans’ favor. Michigan State led 31-7 at the break thanks to the interception. The Broncos continued their struggles in the second half but managed to re-enter the end zone on a garbage time touchdown with the second-team offense.
Western Michigan fell to 1-1 with the loss, but the Broncos have an opportunity to rebound in Kalamazoo with Georgia State visiting Waldo Stadium next weekend.