By Aidan Champion
Michigan State football has started the 2021-22 season hot. The Spartans are excelling in every area of the game, and they have proven to have a number of weapons that can be relied on.
Spartan Stadium was loud and ecstatic for its first true home game in over a year on Saturday. MSU once again controlled the contest from the first to last snap, defeating Youngstown State 42-14.
Spartan redshirt junior wide receiver Jayden Reed stole the show, notching 181 receiving yards and two touchdowns from his pal Payton Thorne. Thorne and Reed’s time as teammates dates all the way back to middle school, and the connection was clear in Saturday’s matchup.
The standout of Week 1, transfer running back Kenneth Walker III took somewhat of a backseat, as backup Jordon Simmons rushed for 123 yards on 16 attempts.
Before fans get too ahead of themselves, it would be wise to see what this Spartan team can do in Week 3, traveling on the road to face an AP Top 25 team in Miami.
No. 24 Miami was blown out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium at the hands of No.1 Alabama, but bounced back with a Week 2 victory.
It was no win to get too high on, though, seeing as the Hurricanes defeated Appalachian State at home by only two points.
Like MSU, Miami came out of the gates strong in Week 2, albeit its momentum started on the defensive side. After a three-and-out for Miami’s first offensive drive, Hurricane senior safety Amari Carter picked off a pass at Appalachian State’s 5-yard line, with just over 10 minutes to go in the first quarter.
Miami then scored a touchdown on that offensive drive.
The Spartans have come out swinging in each of their first two games, scoring on the first offensive play in each week. But MSU will have to adapt to the almost inevitable fact that a ranked team in Miami will not allow any shots to be taken early, especially in an electric atmosphere like Hard Rock.
One of the biggest strengths going into this game for the Spartans is their running game. MSU had three key running backs to go to in Week 2 with Simmons, Walker and redshirt junior Elijah Collins, who didn’t get a single touch against Northwestern.
Coach Mel Tucker’s team has arguably the deepest set of running backs in the Big Ten. This could prove to be Miami’s kryptonite on Saturday, as the Hurricanes allowed 127 rushing yards against what should have been a much inferior Appalachian State team.
This matchup should bring out the best in both teams. A lot is on the line for each program. A win for Miami would prove to the rest of the league that it belongs in the top 25 and that it is capable of defeating a solid Power Five conference opponent.
A victory for the Spartans would hold an equal weight of significance, as MSU would alert the Big Ten that it is not a pretender and is not even close to the program it was last year.
Written by: Aidan Champion
Aidan is an MSU Journalism Student and Spartan Football writer for: impact89fm.org
Photo Courtesy of theonlycolors.com