College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan State Spartans

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State

College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan State Spartans

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College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Michigan State Spartans season with what you need to know.


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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Schedule Analysis
– Michigan State Previews 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2019 Record: 7-6 overall, 4-5 in Big Ten
Head Coach: Mel Tucker, 1st year
2019 CFN Final Opinion Ranking: 39
2019 CFN Final Season Formula Ranking: 57
2019 CFN Preview Ranking: 14

No one knows what’s going to happen to the 2020 college football season. We’ll take a general look at where each team stands – doing it without spring ball to go by – while crossing our fingers that we’ll all have some well-deserved fun this fall. Hoping you and yours are safe and healthy.

5. College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan State Spartans Offense 3 Things To Know

– The Michigan State offense could use a fresh set of ideas. Jay Johnson takes over after running Mel Tucker’s Colorado offense last season, and he inherits a veteran bunch that turned the ball over way too often, couldn’t run the ball nearly as well as it should have, and ended up averaging just 372 yards and 22 points per game.

It all starts with a line that was beaten up throughout all of last season. The offense couldn’t get into much of a groove when game after game there were new parts up front, but at least the experience is in place.

C Matt Allen needs to stay healthy for a full season – he’s the quarterback and veteran leader – but securing the tackles is a must, too, after a seemingly revolving door on the left side all of last year. Fortunately, the entire two-deep – in some configuration – is back from a group that, all things considered, held it together to keep the quarterbacks from getting popped.


CFN in 60 Video: Michigan State Spartans Preview


It’s not necessarily Rocky Lombardi-or-bust at quarterback, but he’s the veteran presence who’ll get the longest look by the new staff. The junior saw time over his first two years, completing 7-of-21 passes for 74 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions last year.

He’ll be pushed by 6-5, 222-pound sophomore Theo Day and redshirt freshman Payton Thorne in he fight to upgrade a passing game that averaged fewer than seven yards per pass with 17 touchdowns and 15 picks – 13 from former starter Brian Lewerke. But who will they throw to?

The Spartans lose their top three pass catchers, hurt mostly by the early departure of leading receiver Cody White. There’s talent, but not a whole lot of experience. It starts with talented sophomore Jalen Nailor, who’s coming off a broken foot and should be the No. 1 target.

Nailor and sophomore Tre Mosley should fill in just fine, and star recruit Ricky White will get every shot right away. Senior TE Matt Dotson – catching 16 passes in eight games – should take over the main duties.

The passing game should come around, but the team’s season relies on the ground attack to do more after coming up with just 1,653 yards and averaging 3.5 yards per pop. That might happen if the veteran offensive line can come together and stay healthy to pave the way for sophomore Elijah Collins, who led the team with 988 yards and five scores.

The No. 2 back, though – sophomore Anthony Williams – only ran for 118 yards and a score, and veteran Connor Heyward should be back after flirting with the transfer portal.

NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan State Spartans Defense 3 Things To Know

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