Previewing MSU Football’s Matchup with Western Michigan

Previewing+MSU+Football%27s+Matchup+with+Western+Michigan

College football returns to the forefront, and every team in the nation has high hopes this will be their year.

The boys from East Lansing are at the top of that list.

Michigan State will kick off their 2015 campaign, and the journey to a national championship, today in Kalamazoo, Michigan, against the Western Michigan Broncos.

This is the first time the Spartans will play their season opener on the road since their 2008 38-31 loss at California. Although Michigan State has never played at Western Michigan, the Spartans have made four appearances in the city of Kalamazoo, dating all the way back to the Spartans’ inaugural season in 1896.

Today’s matchup will be the 14th meeting between the two schools, with the Spartans leading the overall head-to-head series 11-2.

In 2013 the two squads faced off, with Michigan State prevailing 26-13, and the last time Western Michigan defeated the Spartans came Oct. 11, 1919.

Being no stranger to success in non-conference games, the Spartans have compiled a 52-19 record (.732) against non-conference opponents, and under head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 29-11 (.725).

This non-conference game is a part of the “Celebrate the State” series, which began in 2009. The main purpose of the three-for-one agreement was to boost the economy as well as bring new excitement to the state of Michigan.

“We wanted to create a community event in the state of Michigan, while helping the economy at the same time” Dantonio said in Tuesday’s press conference. “We wanted to bring commerce to the city of Kalamazoo.”

Not only does the matchup provide a buzz to the state, but the Spartans look to start off the season with a bang before hosting the Oregon Ducks in what will be one of the most intriguing matchups of the year.

“New beginnings – every program in America has a new beginning this year,” Dantonio said.

“I think most people are tired of practicing amongst themselves right now, so we are very excited to play in our first game.”

On Friday night the Spartans look to set the tempo early, playing hard-nosed smash-mouth football from the first snap.

“Our philosophy has always been – stop the run, defend against the pass,” Dantonio said.

Junior defensive back, Demetrious Cox added, “Our first goal is to stop the run. We are a big physical group – one of the biggest secondary’s in the country. So we want to be tough and physical while flying around making plays.”

The Broncos will be a solid test for the Spartans, especially since the Broncos have weapons along the perimeter.

Western Michigan junior wide receiver Corey Davis is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

Hauling in 78 receptions for 1,408 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns last season, Davis provides the Broncos’ offense with a spark on the outside, which complements well with their running attack.

“There are no guarantees. This is the first challenge we have, and we will be ready to play.” Dantonio said.