College Football Preview: The 2015 Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State Spartans Preview
2014 Record: 11-2 (8th of 128) Won Cotton Bowl 42-41 vs. Baylor
Odds to Win National Championship: +2800 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Michigan State Spartans have won 24 games in the last two seasons and have yet to miss a bowl game under Mark Dantonio’s watch. MSU is getting closer and closer to becoming a national championship contender, and it could be just that this season. Michigan State has its eyes set on the prize.
Offense: Michigan State is in great hands offensively with Connor Cook back at quarterback and possibly one of the best offensive lines in college football. Cook has 46 touchdown passes his last two seasons and more than 6,000 passing yards in his career. Cook is easily a top-15 quarterback in college football and gives MSU a chance to beat anybody in the country. Delton Williams will replace Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill, while freshman L.J. Scott is sure to see a solid number of carries. The Spartans also lost their top-two receivers in Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery, but Macgarrett Kings Jr. is a playmaker and Josiah Price has shown to be a reliable tight end. Overall, Michigan State has an elite offensive line and a solid quarterback, which makes this unit legit.
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Defense: Michigan State had a top-10 defense last season and has built a reputation of being a physical and nasty group. It all starts in the trenches for this team, as Shilique Calhoun and Lawrence Thomas form one of the better defensive line duos in the country. Add in Malik McDowell, Joel Heath and Demetrius Cooper, and MSU has a deep and extremely talented defensive front. Ed Davis and Darien Harris bring production and experience at linebacker. The concerns for this unit are in the secondary, as replacing Trae Waynes and Kurtis Drummond is nearly impossible. RJ Williamson will be the glue to keep a young unit together, while guys such as Montae Nicholson, Vayante Copeland and Darian Hicks will be asked to step up. MSU isn’t going anywhere defensively even with questions in the secondary.
Special Teams: Michael Geiger returns at kicker after making 63.6 percent of 22 field goal attempts. Jake Hartbarger replaces Mike Sadler at punter.
Overall: Besides Ohio State, Michigan State has the best shot to win the Big Ten and clinch one of the spots in the playoff format. The Spartans have an experienced and proven quarterback, advantages in the trenches and leaders on both sides of the ball. Michigan State will be in the mix all season long and has a chance to make this season very special.