Spartan Digest starts to dig into the upcoming Cotton Bowl match-up with Alabama with a look at Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker.

We start digging into the Cotton Bowl match-up between Michigan State and Alabama with a look at Crimson Tides senior quarterback Jake Coker.

Stuart McNair


GAMES EFFIC CMP-ATT-INT PCT YARDS TD LONG AVG/G
13 139.4 222-338-8 65.7 2489 17 81 191.5

Senior quarterback Jake Coker is a transfer from Flordia State where he backed up Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston in 2013.  The Mobile, Alabama native returned to the field this fall where he started the first two games of the season before Cooper Bateman replaced him for their only loss of the season against Ole Miss.  Coker returned to his starting role the following week against Louisiana-Monroe and has started every game since as the Crimson Tide have won 10 straight games.

When compared to the other three quarterbacks in the College Football Playoffs, Coker ranks last on the stat sheets and is considered a player that could cost his team a game with an interception.

However, Coker has shown growth as the season continued and many feel has a real chance of spending time in the NFL with his combination of size (6-foot-5 / 232-pounds) and arm strength.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE MUST DO AGAINST COKER

Everyone knows Bama is going to run the football with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry behind Coker and one of the top offensive lines in college football.  The Spartans are known for their run stopping defense and they must step forward and slow down Henry forcing Coker to win it with his arm.  Bama has talented receivers and the Spartans secondary is the weak link of this defense, so the Spartans must force Coker to throw short.  If they can put pressure on Coker, he's shown he's capable of rushing his throws and making mistakes.  Could the return of safety R.J. Williamson come at a better time?

JAKE COKER EACH GAME

GAME CMP-ATT-INT YDS TD RUSH YDS SACKS
WISCONSIN 15-21-0 213 1 -13 2
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 15-26-1 214 1 5 0
OLE MISS 21-45-2 201 3 58 1
ULM 17-31-1 158 3 -5 2
GEORGIA 11-16-0 190 1 28 0
ARKANSAS 24-33-2 262 2 17 2
TEXAS A&M 19-25-0 138 0 13 1
TENNESSEE 21-27-1 247 0 -26 5
LSU 18-24-0 184 0 -26 3
MISSISSIPPI STATE 15-25-1 144 1 6 0
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 11-13-0 155 2 1 0
AUBURN 17-26-0 179 1 13 0
FLORIDA 18-26-0 204 2 23 2

As you can see, Coker has been sacked 18 times during the season with a high of five times against Tennessee.  Can the Spartans get to Coker?  They must at least place pressure on him if they want to advance to the National Championship game.


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