Tag Archives: L.J. Scott

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

2017 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Preview: Washington State vs. Michigan State

Despite identical 9-3 records, two teams with different offensive styles will square off in this year’s Holiday Bowl.

Michigan State and Washington State will meet on Dec. 28 in San Diego. Luke Falk, a 6-foot-4, 223-lb. senior quarterback, leads the charge for the Cougars. Junior running back L.J. Scott is the workhorse running back for Michigan State.

The Spartans come into the game on a two-game win streak and seemed to have righted the ship after a 3-9 season a year ago.

The Cougars were blown out in the Apple Cup but started the season 6-0, including a key win against USC.

Players to watch

Washington State

Luke Falk QB-Senior

Falk is the best player on the Cougars and possibly the best player in the conference. Mike Leach’s air raid attack will try and spread out the Spartans and push the ball down the field. Falk’s top two receivers from the regular season -Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson- Mack- have both left the team, which means Falk will have to find production elsewhere.

Renard Bell WR-Freshman

Renard Bell will be asked to pick up the production left by Martin Jr. and Johnson-Mack.  Bell, a freshman, worked the slot during the season and could cause trouble for the Spartans, who on occasion give up chunk yardage in the passing game. Bell’s three catches for 101 yards were the difference in an early season win against the Trojans and in the Holiday Bowl, he could have the same impact.

Michigan State

Josiah Scott CB-Freshman

When Luke Falk struggles, it’s because he tries to force the ball into tight coverage. Falk threw three interceptions against Washington and will have to beware of MSU’s outstanding freshman cornerback. Scott’s 11 starts this year were the most by a true freshman in the Mark Dantonio-era.  Dantonio, a former secondary coach, doesn’t usually give playing time to younger corners unless he sees something special and Scott is something special.

L.J. Scott RB-Junior

L.J. Scott had an up-and-down season but out of the running back trio MSU employs, Scott is the most lethal.  Scott is the most NFL- ready prospect on the offensive side of the ball and finished the season with 788 rushing yards.  As long as Scott, who struggles with fumbles, can keep the ball off the ground he figures to have a strong game against a small Cougars defensive line. Look for MSU offensive coordinator Dave Warner to run the ball early and often in an attempt to keep the ball out of Falk’s hands.

Prediction

Michigan State 28 Washington State 23

—Troy Jefferson, DN Staff Reports