Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State football trounced by No. 8 Washington at home

Jack Moreland
Will Nixon scores a rushing touchdown in the second half against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on September 16, 2023.

EAST LANSING – After a long and difficult week, where Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker was absent from the sidelines due to suspension, MSU football returned to the field Saturday. 

In a 41-7 blowout loss to the No. 8 Washington Huskies, the Spartans were out coached, outmatched, and outplayed on Saturday evening at Spartan Stadium.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the game we thought we were gonna see tonight,” MSU interim head coach Harlon Barnett said. “We’re looking forward to the start of Big Ten play, and all of our goals are still in front of us.”

It was all Washington from the start, as former Michigan State wide receiver Germie Bernard put the Huskies on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run to go up 7-0 early in the first quarter. 

The Huskies kept their foot on the gas the entire first half, scoring on five of their last seven drives. Junior wide receiver Rome Odunze and sophomore wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk combined for 298 yards receiving on the night. 

Washington senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. tore up the Michigan State defense for the second consecutive year. Penix ended his night throwing for 473 yards and four touchdowns. 

MSU struggled to move the ball down the field in all of its drives. Redshirt junior quarterback Noah Kim struggled all evening long, completing only 12 of his 31 pass attempts, throwing for 131 yards, and an interception.

“We gotta take it up another notch, especially after a loss like that,” said graduate senior wide receiver Tre Mosley. “We had too many self-imposed mistakes, and when you’re playing against a good team like we did tonight, you can’t do that. We have to clean it up and get back to the drawing board.”

Washington finished with a team total 713 yards, the most allowed in Michigan State history. 

In a game with little to no highlights on MSU’s side, there are many questions that need to be answered as the Spartans’ first Big Ten game approaches on Sept. 23 against Maryland. Another experienced quarterback in Taulia Tagovailoa comes to Spartan Stadium next weekend, and the Spartans will need to turn their defense around in a hurry if they want to contain the redshirt senior who is the Terrapins all-time passing leader. 

“I think we had good unity going into this week. I think the guys were bought in and everyone was mission-focused, but we just made too many mistakes,” redshirt senior J.D. Duplain said. “The best teams learn from games like this. We’re going to get better.”

The Spartans’ only score of the contest was a 4-yard rushing touchdown from redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser, who replaced Noah Kim in the fourth quarter. 

Michigan State will host the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. on WDBM, with Matt Merrifield and Zac Slowik on the call from Spartan Stadium. 

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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
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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