Three takeaways from Michigan State’s 2021 spring game


MSU running back Elijah Collins runs through a hole during spring practice/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Kyle Hatty, Hockey Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — Michigan State held its 2021 Spring Game on Saturday afternoon in Spartan Stadium. A limited number of fans were allowed inside the stadium, and it was the first time Michigan State allowed fans inside the stadium since Nov. 30, 2019. The spring game gave the public their first look at what coach Mel Tucker has been working on during his first full offseason at Michigan State. A lot of freshmen and transfers aren’t on campus yet, and therefore, were not able to participate in the Spring Game. However, there were still things that stuck out that gave people an idea of what this team may look like during game one against Northwestern in the Fall.

  1. Michigan State will allow fans this Fall

The biggest takeaway for fans is the breath of fresh air that came from seeing fans in attendance at Spartan Stadium. Granted, only a few thousand were allowed inside a stadium that holds over 75,000. The spring game allowed the university to see how well the systems and guidelines put in place to space people out work, and it seemed to work out well. The NFL intends on having full stadiums in the Fall according to commissioner Roger Goodell, which should make fans of college teams optimistic.

  1. The offense is poised to take a big step forward

The Spartan offense could surprise some people this fall if pieces continue to fall in line. Former Temple quarterback and recent transfer Anthony Russo looked calm and poised during his reps and is likely the favorite to take the first snap under center in the fall. Peyton Thorne took numerous first-team snaps as well, so the job is by no means Russo’s to lose.

Wide receivers Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor had huge transformations physically, adding a lot of muscle during the offseason. The team also got senior wide receiver C.J. Hayes back, who missed all of last season with a lower body injury, which makes for a promising group of ball catchers. Redshirt freshman Ian Stewart showed he could add some depth as well after making the play of the day on a jump ball.

At the running back position, there’s been a lot of talk about Elijah Collins, who saw a decreased role last season. He had a strong offseason and put himself in a spot to contend for the starting job — especially after how strong he looked at the spring game when he took reps with Russo. He was hitting his holes hard and making guys miss in the secondary. He will have some competition with redshirt sophomore transfer Kenneth Walker III showing some elusiveness and turning heads at the spring game.

Fans also got a glimpse of a fully healthy offensive line. Last season, the Spartans had numerous line combinations start due to a plethora of injuries on the offensive line and were never able to find a groove because of it. 

  1. The defensive line will anchor this team

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Michigan State’s defensive line looks scary. Much like previous years, this position group will keep them in games. No matter what unit was out there, it seemed like every play, the defensive line was able to get some kind of pressure on the quarterback or clog a running gap. Getting defensive ends Jacob Panasiuk and Drew Beesley back was big, and if the rest of the line gives him support, Michigan State’s defensive line could give opposing offenses some real trouble.