Wiley has breakout performance against Idaho

Wiley was a vision for coach John L. Smith recording 12 tackles to lead the Spartans while also recording 1 1/2 tackles for loss and three passes defensed.

EAST LANSING - Michigan State free safety Otis Wiley came up huge for the Spartans in their 27-17 win over an extremely game Idaho Vandals squad.

Wiley was a vision for coach John L. Smith recording 12 tackles to lead the Spartans while also recording 1 1/2 tackles for loss and three passes defensed.

In his first ever game as a free safety, the 6-foot-2 Wiley showed the speed, range and ability to read the play that made his coach comfortable with putting him in the starting lineup and allowing him to make the defensive calls despite being just a sophomore.

"Otis played his tail off," said coach John L. Smith. "Otis is a good football player. He kept people in line from the standpoint of getting aligned and not making a bunch of mistakes and making Idaho earn its way down the field. You're not going to hold their offense scoreless so it was good from that standpoint."

Wiley for his part deflected the credit to his teammates. "First things first, we just need to come out and work hard. My teammates came out and worked hard and I did my part, and that felt good for everyone. I know I made my share of mistakes but I just have to watch films, adjust, and come out hard against Eastern Michigan."

Humility aside, Michigan State hadn't seen a performance like this from a free safety in a long time. While departed strong safety Eric Smith was solid along the backlines in recent seasons, Wiley showed the ability to sniff out the play and react to get the Vandals off the field in key moments, including a critical 3-and-10 breakup of a Steve Wichman pass to Max Komar that would have gotten the Vandals in position for a tying score. Instead they had to settle for a 49-yard field goal and a 7-3 deficit. [See Five Plays that Changed the Game

Michigan State secondary was also bolstered by a strong, solid performance by junior college transfer Nehemiah Warrick, who also added 12 tackles to steady a shaky performance by the Spartans linebackers who hope to improve, but the GSN player of the game goes to Wiley for his effort on Saturday.


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