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Reviewing our Staff Predictions for Michigan State vs. Washington

The Spartans had a rough trip to the West Coast...

Michigan State travelled to the West Coast to play at Washington this week, and to say it was an unsuccessful trip is an understatement. The Spartans defensive backfield looked like last year, and their run game couldn’t get going. The only positive seemed to be the passing offense.

Let’s look back at our predictions from this game:

Matt’s Bold Predictions

1.) RB Jalen Berger eclipses 100 rushing yards, scores a touchdown

Berger ended up with 27 rushing yards on 13 carries. He struggled to get into a rhythm as issues along the offensive line were exposed when trying to run between the tackles. Kenneth Walker III covered many of those issues up a season ago with his explosiveness. Now, with a more downhill running back, it was evident that those problems linger on. Not only did Berger not come close to rushing for 100 yards, he was held out of the end zone as well.

2.) CB Ameer Speed grabs an interception

Speed was another Spartan that had a difficult game. He didn’t have an interception, or even a pass deflection. Washington receivers Jalen McMilan and Ja’Lynn Polk were a handful for the secondary. Speed got beat on a couple other plays too that were overthrown for incompletions. He was thought to add leadership and experience to help fix the passing defense issues. While he has plus measurables, the passing defense looks the same as it did in 2021.

3.) Keon Coleman goes over 100 yards receiving, catches two touchdowns

Coleman was one of few highlights for Michigan State on the night. The sophomore wide receiver was a beast against the Huskies with nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns. While there were concerns about receiver Jayden Reed not playing, he fulfilled all the Spartans’ needs through the air. Averaging nearly 13 yards per catch, Coleman’s wide frame was hard for corners to cover. This game may lead to Payton Thorne giving him more targets even after Reed comes back.

Aedan’s Predictions

1.) Tre Mosley grabs another touchdown

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Mosley continues to be consistent. Five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, including a spectacular catch on fourth down. Reed being out didn’t benefit him as much as it did Coleman, but he still was important. He’s scored in every game so far this season.

2.) Charles Brantley gets a pick

Brantley didn’t have many targets his way, but he struggled like the rest of the secondary. Recording one assisted tackle on the night was his only stat. His physicality didn’t phase Washington’s receivers, as they threw for nearly 400 yards. Brantley was taken out and replaced by Justin White later in the game. White played better, and while it’s not permanent, the whole secondary is being reevaluated.

3.) Kendall Brooks leads the team in tackles

Brooks ended up leading the team in tackles with eight total tackles, with six on his own. Replacing an injured Xavier Henderson has been difficult. The defense misses his leadership, but his production didn’t drop too far off with Brooks, who didn’t miss any tackles. Washington was still able to throw with ease, but that would’ve happened with or without Henderson. Brooks has had an expanded role and could still get playing time even after Henderson comes back.

Final Score Predictions

Matt’s score prediction: Michigan State 34, Washington 30

Aedan’s score prediction: Michigan State 30, Washington 27

We were both well off the mark on our score predictions, both in the point totals and who we expected to win the game.

No matter who wins, it’s impossible to account for a safety. No one expects that to happen, which always throws off the scoreline. Washington looked like the better team from start to finish on Saturday night, scoring on their first drive and never looking back.

Michigan State had two goal line stops on defense, but that wasn’t enough. Quarterback Payton Thorne showed flashes in the air, with Keon Coleman having a big game. But the play-calling was an uphill battle. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson ran the ball multiple times on third down, where they never converted. The offensive play-calling wasn’t talked about as much as the defense, but is something that should be monitored against Minnesota.