EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State (2-0) grabbed its second win of the season by beating Western Michigan (0-2) 28-14 at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
It was be the second game in a row against a MAC opponent for Michigan State, which beat Bowling Green in its season opener.
Michigan State-Western Michigan live updates, score
Michigan State improved to 2-0 by beating a tough Western Michigan squad by two touchdowns. The Spartans punished the Broncos on the ground, racking up 296 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Brian Lewerke had himself a big day, passing for 161 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 81 yards and two more scores. Overall, Michigan State out-gained Western Michigan 457-195.
FINAL: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14
Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14 (Q4, 7:17): Michigan State continues to be reckless with the ball. Brian Lewerke coughed it up once again, but after the fumble, an out-of-bounds player touched it. That’s six fumbles in two games, three of them lost.
Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14 (Q4, 10:37): Maybe don’t kick to him? Darius Phillips continued his dominance with a 100-yard kick return reminiscent of what he did to Michigan State two years ago. It gave him two scores on the day, and now both the offense and special teams have given up more points than the Spartans defense this year.
Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 7 (Q4, 11:11): Western Michigan opted to decline a personal foul that would have made it third-and-16, and LJ Scott converted the fourth-and-1 for a 44-yard gain. Three runs later, he found himself in the end zone for his first rushing TD of the year.
Michigan State 21, Western Michigan 7 (Q3, 0:47): Western Michigan’s offense was frustrated. Jon Wassink couldn’t find much time to throw, and when he did, he was not accurate. The Broncos really only found success via the outside run.
Michigan State 21, Western Michigan 7 (Q3, 4:04): Raequan Williams recorded Michigan State’s fourth sack, giving the Spartans their highest total in a game for nearly two years. Western Michigan then punted, and true freshman Laress Nelson showed some shiftiness with a 15-yard return.
Michigan State 21, Western Michigan 7 (Q3, 6:07): Darrell Stewart deserved a touchdown, but Brian Lewerke took the acclaim. After a 46-yard rush from Stewart came up just short of the goal line, Lewerke quickly took the snap for the one additional yard.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 7 (Q3, 8:43): Hunter Rison will not be happy about that. The true freshman wide receiver took a jet sweep and was stripped by WMU superstar Darius Phillips, who scooped it up and returned it 67 yards for the touchdown. The fumble troubles continue.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q3, 9:15): Felton Davis has made some fantastic catches so far this year. Early in the third, he reeled in a pass over the top of the defender and managed to get a foot inbounds. Twenty-five-yard gain.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q3, 10:58): Josiah Scott continued his outstanding play with a pass breakup. Joe Bachie left the game with an injury for which he had to be helped off. A few plays later, the Spartans forced a turnover on downs.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q3, 12:54): Michigan State received the ball to start the second half, and Brian Lewerke never looked comfortable. He got sacked for the first time this season, and the Spartans quickly punted.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 0:00): After some odd clock management and a punt that didn’t need to happen, Michigan State went into the locker room up a pair of touchdowns.
At the half, Michigan State held advantages in yards (232-85), first downs (12-5), yards per play (6.6-2.8) and sacks (3-0). Andrew Dowell stood out with three solo tackles, one of which was the sack shown below.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 0:51): By no means did Michigan State play a good offensive first half. Its defense, though, was stellar. With less than a minute left, the Spartans tried to keep Western Michigan off the scoreboard.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 4:27): Darius Phillips did his best to keep the Broncos in the game with a 52-yard return, but Michigan State looked strong up front on defense. Both Naquan Jones and Jacub Panasiuk made big plays.
Michigan State 14, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 6:04): Michigan State put Brian Lewerke in the shotgun with a two-running back set, then Lewerke lofted up a beautiful pass to find LJ Scott on the wheel route. Scott found the end zone and likely elevated his confidence after losing two fumbles in the opener.
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) September 9, 2017
Michigan State 7, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 9:01): The Spartans recorded sacks on consecutive plays. Really. First was a group effort from Chris Frey and Josh Butler, and then Andrew Dowell brought down Jon Wassink with a shoestring tackle for a loss of 11. Michigan State then got the ball back.
"You shall not pass!"
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) September 9, 2017
Michigan State 7, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 11:08): Brian Lewerke’s accuracy was subpar to this point, despite being given plenty of time to throw. For some reason, Gerald Holmes did not have any carries after his solid first drive — to this point, at least.
Michigan State 7, Western Michigan 0 (Q2, 12:57): True freshman receiver Laress Nelson saw some action on punt return. He’s a shifty youngster with a bright future.
Michigan State 7, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 0:45): Brian Lewerke made a poor decision to throw a deep ball into double coverage. That decision was made even poorer since once of those defenders was Darius Phillips, who picked it off.
Michigan State 7, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 2:45): Michigan State struggled to defend the edge early in this game, but managed to force Western Michigan to punt. At this point in the game, Michigan State had a 108-55 advantage in yards.
Michigan State 7, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 4:43): Brian Lewerke has wheels. He kept it on the read option and outran everyone for his first career touchdown. He took it 61 yards.
Michigan State 0, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 5:07): Don’t believe the “hot hand” theory. Gerald Holmes rushed for 18 yards on 3 carries to start the game, but LJ Scott replaced him on the second drive.
Michigan State 0, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 7:15): Michigan State’s tackling struggled to start the second defensive drive, but Kenny Willekes stuffed what was Jamauri Bogan’s fifth straight run to force a punt. A block in the back from true freshman Cody White set the Spartans back.
Michigan State 0, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 9:33): Brian Lewerke started the drive well but then had trouble finding his receivers against Western Michigan’s tough secondary. Gerald Holmes saved him from a crushing hit with a great block. Punter Jake Hartbarger sent a beauty to start the Broncos from their own 4-yard line.
Michigan State 0, Western Michigan 0 (Q1, 11:52): Josiah Scott is something to behold. The true freshman cornerback ended Western Michigan’s first drive with an interception on a slant route.
Michigan State has its all-white outfit on today. Quarterback Brian Lewerke even wore a white suit jacket to the game. Here’s the team walking into Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State released its dress list 45 minutes before kickoff. It included Brandon Sowards (out for the year), Weston Bridges, Noah Sargent, Ben Line, Matt Carrick, Blake Bueter, Tommy Liesveld, AJ Arcuri and Mustafa Khaleefah.
The dress list offered good news for Spartans fans. Defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson dressed for the first time this year, and both guard David Beedle and defensive end Demetrius Cooper dressed after leaving the Bowling Green game with injuries.
We tuned in to answer your last-minutes questions before the game. Check it out.
Michigan State vs. Western Michigan game time, details
Time: 3:40 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
Weather: Mostly sunny skies with 7 mph wind. It’s expected to be 65 degrees at kickoff.
The line: Michigan State is a 7-point favorite.
Over/under: 49.5 points
What TV channel is showing Michigan State-Western Michigan?
The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
How can I watch Michigan State-Western Michigan online?
How can I listen to Michigan State-Western Michigan on the radio?
The game can be heard on radio over the 39-affiliate Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WJR-AM (760) in Detroit. It is also on Sirius channel 137, XM channel 195 and SiriusXM.com channel 957.
George Blaha will call the game with Jason Strayhorn handling analysis and Seth Newman on the sideline.
Who is calling the game for BTN?
Brandon Gaudin will handle play-by-play and Glen Mason will offer analysis. Elise Menaker will be on the sideline.
Michigan State vs. Western Michigan, 3 keys to the game
1. Western Michigan’s running backs
In its 49-21 loss at USC, Western Michigan ran the ball four times for every one throw. The Broncos’ four running backs — LeVante Bellamy, Jamauri Bogan, Jarvion Franklin and Davon Tucker — combined to rush 41 times for 231 yards in the game.
Michigan State will need a solid push from its defensive tackles, and middle linebacker Joe Bachie will have to fly around like he did against Bowling Green. The Spartans know what’s coming, but that won’t make it a whole lot easier to stop.
2. Michigan State’s aerial attack
The most fun story of the game will be Michigan State wide receiver Trishton Jackson going up against his brother, Western Michigan cornerback Obbie. But maybe the most intriguing will be Broncos cornerback Darius Phillips against whomever he’s covering.
Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke needs to make sure he takes healthy risks against this talented Western Michigan secondary. He and his offense can’t afford to make as many mistakes as they did in the opener, when they lost three fumbles.
3. Special teams
Oh, that Darius Phillips guy? You may remember him from when he returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown against Michigan State two years ago. The Spartans were still able to come away with a win in that game, but Phillips’ heroics didn’t make it easy.
Kick and punt coverage will be crucial for Michigan State. The Spartans have a veteran punter in Jake Hartbarger, and on kickoffs, they have Brett Scanlon, who played alongside Phillips at Western Michigan. Coach Mark Dantonio and his team should know exactly what they’re dealing with.