Final Score: Western Michigan 17, Michigan State 51
Brief Recap: Now, that is more like it! After a scuffling offense took away from an otherwise fantastic Week 1 win, the Spartans wasted no time putting that performance in the past. Michigan State raced out to a 21-0 lead and cemented the strong first half with a late score, carrying a 31-7 lead into the break. From there, the Spartans rode their usual strong defense and a much-improved rushing attack to put away the Broncos in Week 2.
Key Moment: The key sequence came late in the second quarter when it appeared Western Michigan may attempt to make a run on the Spartans. It started with a Connor Heyward fumble, deep in MSU’s territory. It set the Broncos up with a chance to cut the lead to 14 points until Xavier Henderson picked off a pass in the end zone. From there, Brian Lewerke drove the offense all the way to WMU’s 20-yard line for a field goal as the half expired. That squashed any momentum and gave Michigan State a 31-7 lead it would not relinquish.
Key Stat: 51 points. Not only did Michigan State break out of their offensive slump, but it did so in a big way. The last time the Spartans eclipsed 50 points was way back in 2015. They scored 55 points in a 55-16 drubbing of Penn State on November 28, 2015. If that alone is not impressive enough, it is also the first time the Spartans eclipsed 40 points since the 2017 Holiday Bowl against Washington State.
Key Player: Freshman running back Elijah Collins. Mark Dantonio’s pursuit to find a workhorse running back may have ended Saturday evening. Though Collins did not get a chance to score in the game, he carried the ball 17 times for 192 yards against the Broncos. He also added a catch for seven yards. The fumble by Heyward appeared to open a crack in the door at the top of the depth chart, and Collins took full advantage of the opportunity. Hopefully, he’ll get more opportunities to stick with the offense.
What it Means: Michigan State dominated, which is exactly what they were supposed to do. But the offense was also supposed to do this in Week 1. It is a promising sign to see Lewerke, Collins, and the receivers put together a full outing of successful football. Yes, there were still some mistakes, but this group did not allow those mistakes to sink them as in the past. The competition gets tougher with a visit from Arizona State next weekend, but at least the Spartans have a complete performance to build on moving forward.