Outside of Cody White, and the defense’s front seven, not much has been consistent for the Michigan State football team this season. With White out for with an metacarpal injury for at least the next four weeks, the Spartans do not have much consistency to rely on.
What effect will the White injury have on the homecoming game against Northwestern? What should Spartans fans expect in the passing game on Oct. 6?
Receivers show their worth
Not only will White’s production be missed (20 receptions; 300 yards, two touchdowns) but his dependability in difficult situations cannot be replaced. Brian Lewerke looks to White nearly every time the defense gets pressure on him and as well as on crucial third downs.
Who can Lewerke depend on moving forward?
Well of course the remaining two of the Spartans’ receiving trio come into mind immediately. Felton Davis III and Darrell Stewart Jr. need to remind fans and the Big Ten who they are. The Davis who caught 12 passes against Penn State has to show up. While Stewart is recovering from an ankle injury, he can still run effective routes and catch difficult passes. Michigan State needs more plays like this over the next four games.
If Nailor can get involved on a swing pass out of the backfield or a quick slant, he is a threat to take it the house on every play. For these same reasons, Nailor has to be a punt returner with White out.
Will Lewerke break without his favorite target?
While other players need to make an impact as receivers, the real challenge is on Lewerke. He showed the reason he was a dual-threat quarterback coming out of Pinnacle High School last week with two rushing TDs against Central Michigan.
Lewerke’s real test is on his arm and its accuracy.
Not only has he thrown five interceptions, but Lewerke has also fumbled four times already this season, losing two. The quarterback is responsible for seven of the Spartans’ eight turnovers in 2018. Lewerke needs to make his reads and make the right play over trusting talent to win out (Note the swing pass wide open to Lewerke’s left).
Blaming it all on Lewerke is too harsh. The play calling has been poor. The offensive line has been worse. But Lewerke has to play better if Michigan State is going to be contender in the Big Ten in 2018.
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