With No Juice Spartans Go For First Road Win

Coach Ron Zook, who is officially on the hot seat, benched starter Juice Williams for backukp Eddie McGee saying "This is not a knee-jerk reaction. This is a lot of thought and what-if, what-if, what-if. But the bottom line is, we're in a part of our schedule now where we've got to go play." Get INside to find out the Spartans reaction and how they'll attack the Illini for their first road win.

Michigan State is traveling to Illinois at what appears to be a critical time in the program and in the tenure of head coach Ron Zook.

Just four days after quarterback Juice Williams became the Illini's all-time leading passer, Zook benched the four-year starter in favor of junior Eddie McGee.

Zook appears to be on the hot seat at Illinois with critics saying this week's game is a must-win or he will be out at seasons end.

He explained the move by saying "This is not a knee-jerk reaction. This is a lot of thought and what-if, what-if, what-if. But the bottom line is, we're in a part of our schedule now where we've got to go play."

McGee came on in relief of Williams and led the Illini to their only win this season against crosstown rival Illinois State.

Defensive tackle Josh Brent talked about the move. "He's a guy, if he's in there, we're going to be successful with. We didn't feel there was a change needed, but with Eddie in there, we're going to support him just as much as we do Juice. I'm sure Juice is not happy about it, but he's going to support Eddie in all ways possible."

"I didn't see it coming," said wide receiver Arrelious Benn. "Both Eddie and Juice are guys who are straight with each other and are going to help each other. Eddie is a guy who has the ability to go out there and do what he needs to do. These are the type of things that come with football."

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio expects the Illini to do the same things they normally do this weekend. [McGee] presents a lot of the same problems that Juice does. A little bit taller. Very athletic. He played last year, pretty significantly, he's a redshirt junior, so he's been in the program four years. He played the entire Illinois State game because of an injury at that point," he said.

"He's a good quarterback. He can get it done. So I mean, he's going to run with the ball. He'll pitch the ball in options and he'll throw the ball down the field, so a lot of the same things that you're going to see. I don't think they will alter their offense. I also don't think they have the ability to put both of those guys on the field at the same time, and they have done that in the past and so you may see that."

Regardless of who's at quarterback, Michigan State has to continue to build on the emotional, passionate performance they put on the field against Michigan. Coach Dantonio did the right thing on WJR 760AM, when he cut off questioning about Michigan.

The Spartans, while building on the performance, must turn the page and not get caught up basking in the glow of that significant win, only to drop one to a beatable opponent on the road.

"We have to focus on the next game," said Dantonio.

Look for Michigan State to put the emphasis on running the football behind emerging star Larry Caper and backup Glenn Winston. PICK: Michigan State 31, Illinois 20


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