Spartans win sloppy opener, 26-21

It went as predicted. And although Michigan State's 26-21 win over Western Michigan on Saturday wasn't the most impressive victory, it held significant importance to both head coach John L. Smith and senior quarterback Jeff Smoker.

It went as predicted.

And although Michigan State's 26-21 win over Western Michigan on Saturday wasn't the most impressive victory, it held significant importance to both head coach John L. Smith and senior quarterback Jeff Smoker.

Smith secured his first win as Spartans' head coach, in a game many considered a "must-win" for the former Louisville head coach. After last season's self-destruction, State's season opener in East Lansing against an instate and inferior football team was critical. And it was won on the arm of Smoker.

Smoker, who started at quarterback for the first time since departing his team early last season due to a substance abuse battle, displayed rust occasionally but shined often.

Smoker tossed for 324 yards on 21-of-34 passes, including three touchdowns and two interceptions. Smoker seemed to grasp Smith's spread offense fluidly, finding open targets often and displaying good accuracy and strength.

The Spartans' running attack was equally as impressive, as tailbacks Tyrell Dortch and Jaren Hayes combined for 103 yards rushing on 22 carries.

It was Michigan State's defense, which entered the game with several question marks, that kept the game close.

The Broncos' fleet-footed receiving core kept the Spartans' secondary on their heels throughout the game.

Western Michigan quarterback Chad Munson was able to throw for 330 yards, completing 30 of his 50 attempts including 2 touchdowns. Munson routinely picked apart the Spartans' young cornerbacks, but many Bronco drives were nulled due to turnovers, penalties and/or sacks.

The MSU defensive line stepped up, holding WMU running back Philip Reed to 53 yards and sacking Munson five times.

Next week, the Spartans will host Rutgers. Kick-off is slated for 3:40 p.m (EST).


Spartan Nation Top Stories