Tag Archives: Brian Lewerke

Central Michigan vs. Michigan State, 9-29-18: In-game report

An in-state rivalry pitted the Big Ten against the MAC. Michigan State used a stifling run defense to defeat Central Michigan, 31-20.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

48 Kenny Willekes (6’4 249) Michigan State DE- Junior

Willekes is the most impactful player on the Spartans defense through four games this season.  The junior defensive end added another sack on Saturday to set his total at four for the season. Willekes showed a strong bull rush against Central Michigan and used a rip move to get upfield and force a sack to end the first half. The Rockford, Michigan native anchors a defense that has held opponents to under 70 rushing yards in each game this season. If there is one weakness in Willekes game it’s his lateral quickness.  The junior got caught lost in space when a toss came his way and he couldn’t get outside quick enough to turn the run back inside. The former walk-on should continue to be a factor in the Big Ten and has a game reminiscent of ex-Spartan and former San Francisco 49er Marcus Rush. 

3 Sean Bunting (6’1 181) Central Michigan CB- Junior

Bunting rose to the challenge of blanketing the Spartans best wide receiver, Felton Davis (6’4, 200), on Saturday.  Despite giving up a few inches, Bunting was able to get in Davis’ chest with a quick punch to get the receiver off of his routes.  Bunting used the press coverage to his advantage to pick off a pass in the red zone. The interception was Bunting’s eighth in his career.  Michigan State managed just 185 passing yards and Bunting was a huge reason why.  Look for the junior to continue to add to his already impressive resume’. 

14 Brian Lewerke (6’3 220) Michigan State QB- Junior

Head coach Mark Dantonio  is no stranger to coaching NFL-caliber quarterbacks: Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook have all spent time in the NFL after their years in East Lansing. Lewerke has the potential to add himself to the list and is the most athletic of the bunch.  The junior quarterback used his legs to rush for two touchdowns against the Chippewas.   After sitting in the pocket, Lewerke turned his back to the pass rush and scored a touchdown to give MSU a 14-3 lead.  The physical tools are all there for Lewerke but you would like to see the junior quarterback cut down on the turnovers.  The Phoenix native threw an interception to the aforementioned Bunting, which he could have thrown away instead of forcing it to Davis, who after being jammed at the line ran a slant that allowed the cornerback to come underneath the route. For the season, Lewerke has thrown five touchdowns and five interceptions.  As the Spartans deal with injuries at their skill positions and along the offensive line, more will be asked of the junior quarterback in terms of decision-making. 

2018 Season Preview: Michigan State Spartans

Season outlook

The Michigan State Spartans turned in an impressive bounce back season in 2017.  Mark Dantonio’s crew finished the season 10-3 after going 3-9 the previous season.  With 19 starters returning from last year’s team, the Spartans could have an outside chance of sneaking into the College Football Playoff.  They take on Utah State, Arizona State and Central Michigan in non-conference play and will take on Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State at Spartan Stadium. Sandwiched in between the non-conference schedule are match-ups against the Wolverines and Buckeyes and a road contest versus Penn State.  A good barometer for the Spartans in their 10-plus win seasons has been their ability to stop the run and run the ball.  Last season, Michigan State finished seventh in the nation in  yards allowed per game and averaged 167 rushing yards per game (63rd overall).  Running back L.J. Scott (6’1, 229) enters  his senior season as the team’s feature back and alongside quarterback Brian Lewerke (6’3, 212, Jr.), he will be tasked with carrying the offensive load. On defense, defensive tackle Raequan Williams (6’4, 300, Jr.) will be a run-stuffer.  With a strong season, he could join other former Spartans defensive linemen William Gholston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Shilique Calhoun (Oakland Raiders)  in the NFL.

Troy’s player to watch 

Joe Bachie 6’2 233 LB-Junior
The junior was a stabilizing force for the Spartans defense after they lost LB Riley Bullough to the NFL in 2017.  Bachie finished last season with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three interceptions. Since Dantonio has come to Michigan State, he has been able to hang his hat on a middle linebacker to run the defense. If Bachie can turn in another productive season, he will join the ranks of Max Bullough, Riley Bullough and Darien Harris, all of whom have spent time in the NFL.

Game of the season

November 10th  vs. Ohio State
As usual, the Buckeyes will field a team as competitive as anyone in the nation. If anyone has been able to compete with Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes it’s been Mark Dantonio. The Spartans coach holds a 2-4 record vs. Ohio State and is the only coach to beat Meyer in the Big Ten multiple times. In last year’s matchup, the Spartans lost to the Buckeyes, 48-3, in Columbus.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch:

Khari Willis 6’0 215 S-Senior

The Spartans have several senior prospects worth keeping an eye on in 2017.  Perhaps none can help their NFL hopes more than Willis.  Despite 2017 being his first year as a full-time starter, the former high school running back has blossomed into one of the Big Ten’s most active safeties.  While he will occasionally overrun some tackles due to over-aggressiveness, he generally breaks hard on the ball in pursuit from the inside-out.  On top of that, he demonstrated a sufficient ability to open-and-run with wide receivers when defending vertical concepts a season ago (see Western Michigan ’17).  He’s had some slight durabilty hiccups, but the 2017 Honorable mention All-Big Ten safety is primed for an impact senior campaign.

Prediction: 11-1

 
The Spartans will run through the early part of their schedule with flying colors but Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting a home loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in November, reminiscent of their 2014 season.
–By: Troy Jefferson, DraftNasty Staff reports