EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) His team in a freefall, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio acknowledged the Spartans are scuffling along at quarterback.
''We lost a guy who was there for three years,'' Dantonio said, referring to the graduated Connor Cook. ''We have a fifth-year senior (Tyler O'Connor) who knows our system, but he's in a lot of situations for the first time. Damian Terry and Brian Lewerke are the same. The quarterback situation is in flux, and whether it's due to injury or production, you're going to have inconsistency.''
Lewerke is out for the season after suffering a broken leg against Michigan last weekend, leaving O'Connor and Terry listed on the depth chart. Dantonio said there were no plans to add freshman Messiah DeWeaver, who has been redshirted, to the mix at quarterback.
''I never say never, because you don't know what's the next thing we have to deal with,'' Dantonio said Tuesday. ''But at this point it's highly unlikely we'll take a redshirt off a guy. We'll try not to, let's put it that way.''
Michigan State (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) plays at Illinois (2-6, 1-4) on Saturday. The Spartans have won 12 of the last 13 meetings with the Fighting Illini, the last a 42-3 victory in Champaign in 2013, and they must win their last four games, including a home game with Ohio State, to become bowl eligible.
O'Connor said his team will have to avoid a letdown this week.
''It's easy to get hyped for Michigan,'' he said Saturday after losing to the Wolverines. ''It's going to be tougher than ever to get everyone hyped up this week.''
Throughout their six-game skid, the Spartans either led or got themselves in a position to win each week.
''We've had opportunities to win every single game we've played,'' Dantonio said. ''I thought we had a chance to win against Michigan, and we didn't. We had to play error-free, and we weren't.''
Michigan State has struggled on both sides of the ball this season. Last year, it was 6-1 in games decided by one or less scores
''Right now, that's not occurring,'' Dantonio said. ''There's answers to our problem. We have to identify those answers , change and get back to what we were doing.''