It’s Thursday, so that means it is blogger Q&A time. This week we have McLain Moburg from SB Nation’s The Only Colors here to talk about the Spartans:
T-Mill: Brian Lewerke has not been the same as last year. How healthy is he and will he start on Saturday?
McLain: After the game against Michigan, Mark Dantonio said Brian hadn’t practiced all week but they felt like he could play. Lewerke reiterated this fact during his postgame interview as well. I’m not sure how healthy he is and Dantonio was unsure of who would play quarterback during his weekly press conference. In my opinion, we’ll see more than just Brian Lewerke under center.
T-Mill:Michigan State has a ton of offensive injuries, but it getting a few guys like LJ Scott back. Who is out this week and how will it affect things.
McLain: As far as injury reports go here’s an update:
Doubtful - Cody White and David Beedle
Questionable - Brian Lewerke, Matt Allen, Laress Nelson, Josh Butler, Josiah Scott
Probable - Darrell Stewart Jr., Jalen Nailor, Cam Chambers, Brandon Sowards
The Spartans top two playmakers on offense are likely out for the season. MSU fans are merely waiting on Cody White but if the season keeps getting out of hand they may shut him down until next year. That leaves Michigan State with their second unit of wideouts, a continuously struggling offensive line, and now a quarterback dilemma. If Lewerke can’t play I’m not sure what fans are going to see from that side of the ball and if he does play (without being 100% healthy) then it’ll be more of the same.
T-Mill: Looking at your defense the run defense is really good but the pass defense is struggling. What has gone wrong and how much of a concern is it against a really good passing team?
McLain: It’s a huge concern. Purdue is set up to dominate this game -- the Spartan defense couldn’t handle it when Clayton Thorson and the Wildcats came to town. The secondary has struggled all season due to key guys being out, like Josiah Scott. But the Spartans can’t use it as a crutch, for the most part the defense has been healthy so other guys need to step up. Unfortunately, MSU hasn’t seen who those players are, yet. If Purdue attacks MSU downfield and picks them apart with crossing routes it’s going to be a long day at home for Michigan State.
T-Mill: Purdue is obviously coming off a huge win and Michigan State had a disappointing loss to Michigan. Which result last week do you think is the bigger factor?
McLain: I think Purdue’s win matters more, crushing Ohio State at home has to mean more than losing to Michigan. I understand it’s a huge rivalry but MSU couldn’t move the ball. They had less than 100 yards of offense which was their lowest total since 1947, it was a total let down. The defense played their guts out -- it was the only reason MSU was ever in the game. One failed press coverage on the outside against Donovan-Peoples Jones was enough to seal the victory for U-M. The Spartans don’t have any fire power right now, their only touchdown was a seven yard drive, and they needed the “Philly Special” to be successful.
T-Mill: Who is an under the radar player we should look out for?
McLain: Does it count as under the radar if they’ve been out with injury? If so I’ll go with Jalen Nailor, he hasn’t played since the Indiana game where he went off for 95 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns. If he gets in the rotation, look for him to be heavily involved and to produce right away.
T-Mill: Finally, a huge thank you for inspiring the Cancer Suck cheer. What do you see happening Saturday?
McLain: Of course! Spartan Nation was excited to get this chant going. It’s for a good cause and we hope to see Tyler Trent win his fight against cancer. As far as the game goes, I’m picking Purdue. I think they execute an excellent gameplan against a struggling secondary and take the lead early. Uncertainty on offense and at quarterback will set the Spartans back, almost like having their backs against the wall, even before kickoff. The Boilermakers keep it going and win five games in a row for the first time since 2007. Purdue 21 Michigan State 17