Injuries plague Spartans offensive line once again

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Injuries plague Spartans offensive line once again

Brian Lewerke/Photo: Riley James

Brian Lewerke/Photo: Riley James

Brian Lewerke/Photo: Riley James

Brian Lewerke/Photo: Riley James

Kyle Hatty, Baseball Beat Reporter

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EAST LANSING, Michigan – Spartan fans have seen this before, last year to be exact. Injuries are taking a serious hit on the Michigan State offensive line, and it’s only three weeks into the season.

The Spartans came into week three already depleted on the offensive line, without left tackles AJ Arcuri and Cole Chewins for the Arizona State matchup. But the first half of that game hit the line even harder. Tackle Kevin Jarvis left the game in the first half limping to the locker room under his own power. Not too long after that, Luke Campbell went down and immediately grabbed his knee and proceeded to leave the game. Campbell, however, did return later that game.

After losing a versatile playmaker in wide receiver Jalen Nailor to a broken foot, the last thing this offense needs is more things to set them back.

The Spartans did manage to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter even with a weakened line, thanks to creative play calling from Brad Salem and a smart audible by Brian Lewerke to call a run on the scoring play. Salem called plays that didn’t need long to develop and therefore allowed the offense to move the ball despite the injuries.

Michigan State’s offense so far this season has been a roller coaster. It lacked any kind of spark against Tulsa in week one. Then in week two against Western Michigan, MSU put up the most points in a game since 2015.

Then this week against Arizona State, the Spartans were all over the place. In the first half, the Spartans outgained the Sun Devils by a large margin and put up 200 yards of total offense but were held scoreless. Mostly because of an inability to finish and a nightmare of a first half from kicker Matt Coughlin—who missed two kicks, one of which was a chip shot. Outside of the Elijah Collins touchdown drive, Michigan State was never able to piece together a complete drive.

But in the end, the one touchdown was not enough to get revenge on the Sun Devils, with the Spartans losing a defensive showdown 10-7 due to late game heroics from Arizona State and badly timed penalties for Michigan State.

Michigan State heads into conference play now, and this loss won’t hurt their chances of going to Indianapolis.

“In the long run it doesn’t really affect Big Ten championship play, it’s not Big Ten play. What really matters starts next week.” Brian Lewerke said, after the game.

Going forward, if the injury bug is as unforgiving as it was last season then backups may be forced to step up in make-or-break moments to give Lewerke and Collins the protection they need to lead this offense going into conference play.