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Michigan State Spartans 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

Michigan State Spartans 2017 Preview

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The Michigan State Spartans hope for better performances on the defensive side of the football to make a run at a Bowl in 2017.

Overview: Mark Dantonio has a history of success at Michigan State but a defense that couldn’t slow down opposing passing attacks in 2016 needs to plug some holes to show improvement this season.

Michigan State Spartans 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: The Michigan State offense was not productive on a consistent basis in 2016 with Tyler O’Conner under center but the team is looking for better things with Brian Lewerke at quarterback who will use both his arm and legs. The Spartans don’t get a whole lot back in the receiving corps with the team losing their top four options but highly regarded youngsters Hunter Rison, Dennis Finley and Cam Chambers will get an opportunity to make an impression. LJ Scott and back up Gerald Holmes give Michigan State stability on the ground behind an offensive line that features five players with starting experience.

Defense: The Michigan State defense that has been so dependable under Dantonio was shockingly bad a season ago. The Spartans had lost five of their top seven linemen heading in to 2016 and now have more worries with five of their top ten gone going in to 2017. Mike Panasiuk and Raequan Williams are the top tackles back for MSU but end Demetrius Cooper is a question mark with assault charges. Michigan State is solid at linebacker with Andrew Dowell and Chris Frey leading the way but a porous secondary is another problem area. The Spartans were crushed by opposing passing attacks and the secondary must now replace four of their top five. In summary, MSU didn’t have a pass rush in 2016 and likely won’t have one again and are asking the secondary that struggled to make plays they couldn’t a year ago.

Special Teams: Jake Harbinger is punter for the Spartans but placekicker Matt Coughlin is a mystery until we see him in action so a top 50 unit of a season ago will likely drop in the rankings.

Outlook: If Michigan State is to improve the pass rush and secondary have to be viable but with so much talent graduating or dismissed from the team I think it’s too much to ask for a significant rebound.

Schedule:

9-2 vs. Bowling Green

9-9 vs. Western Michigan

9-23 vs. Notre Dame

9-30 vs. Iowa

10-7 @ Michigan

10-14 @ Minnesota

10-21 vs. Indiana

10-28 @ Northwestern

11-4 vs. Penn State

11-1 @ Ohio State

11-18 vs. Maryland

11-25 @ Rutgers

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