Michigan State University Student Radio

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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

PREVIEW: Evans & DeCoster breakdown MSU’s upcoming showdown against Washington

Jack Moreland
Noah Kim celebrates with Tre Mosley after the two connected on a touchdown pass against Richmond on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Spartan Stadium.

EAST LANSING – After a tumultuous week, Michigan State football will return to Spartan Stadium on Saturday night against No. 8 Washington. Last season, the Spartans were defeated by the Huskies, 39-28. In this preview, sports editorial assistant Jay DeCoster and sports editor A.J. Evans discuss several storylines to look out for in MSU’s upcoming game against Washington on September 16 at 5 p.m. 

What to expect going into Saturday’s game? 

Through two games, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has over 850 yards, with eight touchdowns and only one interception. What can MSU learn from last year’s performance to contain the quarterback? Penix Jr. threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns against the Spartans in 2022. 

DeCoster: Michael Penix Jr. is arguably one of the most touted quarterback prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. If MSU’s defense wants to make a statement, this is the game to do it. Penix will dice up a defense at any moment, so Michigan State needs to have one of its best defensive performances of the season to makes this game competitive. 

Evans: Last year, Penix Jr. was one of three quarterbacks in the country to throw for over 4,500 yards. Through two games this season, he’s picked up right where he left off last year. The senior has a penchant for big plays, and this Washington offense has a slew of options for him to air out the ball on any given drive. However, as good as his arm is, the quarterback rushed for less than 100 yards last season and struggled at times outside of the pocket. Finding ways to limit deep balls and those aforementioned big plays, especially within the early stages of the game, will be vital. Washington isn’t the kind of team to get into a shootout with. 

MSU got off to a disastrous start in last year’s matchup, trailing 22-0 in the 2nd quarter. Can the Spartans hit the gas pedal early and start strong?

DeCoster: If the Spartans want a shot at beating the Huskies, they need to start fast. In last year’s game, MSU had too many miscues on both sides of the ball, including a safety after turning the Huskies over on downs. If the Spartans can limit the turnovers and play clean football, I believe they can shock the Huskies at an upset. 

Evans: I agree. Getting off to a great start in this game is imperative to staying within it down the line. In last year’s game, MSU never recovered from that horrid first half at Husky Stadium. As cliche as it sounds, optimizing each and every play will go a long way in keeping things interesting as the game progresses. We’ve talked a little about containing Penix Jr., but MSU’s offense will have to hold up its end of the bargain for when Washington inevitably does get rolling. Unlike last year’s game, mistakes will have to be at a minimum, and if the Spartans are able to gain any serious momentum, they’ll have to find it early. 

Redshirt junior quarterback Noah Kim is fresh off earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors, after the Spartans 45-14 beatdown over Richmond. Can Kim replicate his last two performances against the Huskies?

DeCoster: Noah Kim’s first two starts have been promising for the redshirt junior. After slow starts in the first quarter, I like how he has rebounded. I am interested to see how he handles playing a top-10 opponent for the first time in his career. Kim has shown upside in his first two starts, and it will be intriguing to see how he performs against the Huskies’ defense. 

Evans: I’m really intrigued to see how Kim handles Saturday’s game. This is his first true test this season, in what is certainly one of the biggest games of the year. After two games, the redshirt junior will be thrusted into the spotlight against one of the premier teams in college football. Under the circumstances, it certainly isn’t ideal for him and the rest of this program, but if there’s one game that could signify what kind of quarterback Kim will be for this team moving forward, it could be this one. I’m not sure if he can replicate what he’s done through two weeks, but I’m optimistic about him moving MSU downfield throughout the course of this game and putting points on the board. I’m just not sure if it’ll be enough when the clock strikes zero. 

Final score prediction: 

DeCoster: Washington 34, MSU 28

Reason: After all the craziness that Michigan State football has been through, there is a football game to be played. Spartan Stadium will be a raucous atmosphere, and we know the fans will show up to support the student-athletes after a chaotic week. I am expecting the Spartans to be ready against a top-10 opponent, but ultimately fall short in a highly competitive game. 

Evans: Washington 41, MSU 34 

Reason: With everything going on around this program, at the very least we know that the stadium will be rocking on Saturday night. That’s a testament to the student body, alums, and the fans that have tirelessly supported Michigan State athletics. I think this one stays close for quite some time, but Washington sneaks out with a victory. 

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About the Contributors
Jay DeCoster, Sports Editorial Assistant
Jay is a senior studying Mediated Communications at Michigan State. He joined Impact in September of 2021 as a volunteer. Jay is the Michigan State Football & women's soccer beat reporter for the Impact sports department. His interests include supporting his favorite Chicago sports teams, and golfing in the summer. "If you got a dream, chase it, 'cause a dream won't chase you back" - Cody Johnson
A.J. Evans, Sports Editor
A.J. Evans (He/Him/His) is the Sports Editor at Impact 89FM. He is from Southfield, Michigan and is majoring in journalism. He has covered football, women's and men's basketball for the Impact. “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase sky’s the limit….see you chumps on top.” - Biggie  
Jack is a sports photographer for Impact. He grew up just outside of East Lansing and has been a lifelong Spartan. He has a primary interest in basketball and contributes to Impact’s NBA podcast, Courtside Convo.

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