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COLUMN: The good and bad from MSU’s 2019 spring football game

Spartan defense wins the day, but Lewerke, Scott among the positives

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COLUMN: The good and bad from MSU’s 2019 spring football game

Photo: Riley James/Impact

Photo: Riley James/Impact

Photo: Riley James/Impact

Photo: Riley James/Impact

Luke Saccone, Women's Basketball Reporter

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State’s defense defeated the offense 42-26 in the annual Green-White game. The team, as a whole, came off of a season in which the defense was dominant and the offense struggled. It seems like not much has changed, as the spring game reflected that. Here are the good, the bad and the ugly from Michigan State’s spring game.

The Good

The defense is coming off a great season, as they were the No. 2 rushing defense in the country last year. They are returning a solid defensive line core inside including Raequan Williams, who dominated in the spring game. They were able to put pressure on the offense and get into the backfield. They stifled the offensive run game. The offense was unable to get any big run plays or scoring plays on the ground.

Two stars shined in the spring game in cornerback Josiah Scott and wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. In the secondary, Scott had multiple pass deflections, tackles and had an interception. He now has had an interception in each of the last three spring games. He will be one of the anchors in the secondary in the fall.

“Defense played well, overall, we got the turnovers we needed to win the game,” Scott said.

On the other side, Stewart showed his ability to get separation from defenders. He was on the receiving end of two touchdown throws, one from Brian Lewerke and one from Rocky Lombardi. Stewart finished with 82 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.

“We do a good job of competing with each other and making each other better every day,” Lombardi said.

The two quarterbacks in Lewerke and Lombardi had decent days according to head coach Mark Dantonio. Lewerke finished going 14-20, for 181 passing yards, 2 TDs and an interception. It looked like they both had more confidence throwing the ball then they did in the fall.

“I thought Lewerke played well, thought he threw the ball effectively, in some tight windows,” Dantonio said. “And I think, Lombardi, if you take away a couple negative plays, he threw the ball effectively as well.”

The Bad

It’s no secret last year that Michigan State’s offense struggled, and today it looked very similar. The offensive line couldn’t get much push, against a very good Spartan defensive line. The run game was ineffective throughout all four quarters despite using a wide variety of their running backs.

“Defensively, we are a hard team to run against,” Dantonio said.

While both Lewerke and Lombardi threw well today, they both made questionable decisions as well. They often stared down receivers they were going to throw to. Sometimes, they threw it into double or even triple coverage, like on the interception thrown by Lombardi.

“Still need to do some improvements,” Lombardi said. “Missed a couple throws I shouldn’t have, need to work on some alignment issues. We’ll be alright though, we’ll clean it up and get ready for fall camp,”

One thing is for certain, if the Spartans want to improve their record of 7-6 in the fall, the offense will need to step it up and be able to score more points.

Some of that will fall on the offensive coordinator Brad Salem. He moved into the coordinator job after the season and now will have the summer to put a spark in the offensive gameplan that the Spartans need. Going into the summer and fall, the Spartans have work to do on offense, but there is a lot of potential.

“I know last year was kind of tough on offense, but I really feel like we are riding in the right direction,” Stewart said.

The Ugly

Michigan State’s new jerseys that will be premiered this fall were unveiled before the spring game. They are dark green with big neon green letters, saying “State” across the chest. The numbers are white and take up most of the front. The Spartan logo is neon, on a green helmet. They are very flashy and have received a lot of attention, mostly negative, from social media goers. Whether fans like them or not, they’re set to debut this fall.

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COLUMN: The good and bad from MSU’s 2019 spring football game