Where Does MSU Football Go From Here?
Now that eight Michigan State football players have been suspended indefinitely by head coach Mel Tucker (pictured above) for their roles in last Saturday's melee in the tunnel at Michigan Stadium, what happens now with MSU Football? And we'll keep this to the on-field effect of what happened last Saturday.
Most immediately, the 3-5 Spartans face 16th ranked Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois this Saturday at 3:30pm.
Illinois is a 17 point favorite over the Spartans. The Fighting Illini have been one of the big surprises in college football this season under second-year head coach Bret Bielema. They are 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Big Ten play.
Junior running back Chase Brown has rushed for 1,208 yards this season, the most in the Big Ten. And the Illinois defense leads the nation in fewest points allowed with 8.9 points per game. And QB Tommy DeVito has thrown 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions on the season.
As for State, all of their suspended players were on defense. Most notably among them are starters Jacoby Windmon and Angelo Grose. Losing those two guys are major losses for the Spartans for a defense that has struggled for most of the season. To say they are depleted on that side of the ball is an understatement.
We've seen the offensive issues all season long. They can't run the ball consistently, and the offensive line hasn't been very good. QB Payton Thorne hasn't been great, either. And the fourth-year sophomore (remember the free COVID-19 year) may find himself back in East Lansing for his fifth year in 2023. And while punter Bryce Baringer has been terrific, for the most part, the placekicking position has been a mess.
State needs to win three of their last four games to make a bowl game. They could make a bowl at 5-7 if there aren't enough 6-6 teams to place into bowl slots, but that's a bit of a stretch. At Illinois, home with Rutgers and then Indiana. And finally, the season finale at Penn State. Do any of you think they'll win three of their last four games?
You can answer that for yourself.