EAST LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan State Spartans took the field Saturday afternoon hoping to build on the good start they made last week and improve to 2-0 against Richmond in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. They could hardly have done better, as the Spartans dominated on both sides of the ball to emphatically take home the win, 45-14.
The Spartans went right at Richmond quarterback Kyle Wickersham to start the game. Simeon Barrow Jr. and Brandon Wright combined for a sack to force a three-and-out on the opening possession. This was negated, however, when Michigan State had one of their own. Noah Kim threw two incomplete passes and the Spartans gave the ball right back. The same slow start that plagued the Spartan offense last week was back again against Richmond.
The Spartans’ fortune changed very quickly. After each team completed another three-and-out, a Savon Smith fumble on the punt return gave Michigan State the ball on the Richmond 19-yard line. It was a gift the Spartans took full advantage of, as Noah Kim completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tre Mosley to open the scoring. It was Mosley’s first touchdown of the year and it was one the Spartans needed badly to shake off the slow start.
Michigan State built on the early lead in the second quarter. After a Richmond drive that ended in a turnover on downs, Kim took the reins of a 69-yard scoring drive that ended in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyneil Hopper.
When the Spartans got the ball again after a Richmond punt, what would have been a 31 yard touchdown pass to Maliq Carr was wiped out by a holding penalty committed by Spencer Brown. Instead of extending their lead to 21-0, Michigan State had to settle for a 52 yard field goal by Jonathan Kim, which bounced off the crossbar and through.
Perhaps spurred on by the break, Richmond put together a drive that threatened to score late in the first half. This included a 20 yard rush by Owen Laughlin on a fake punt that extended the drive. Kyle Wickersham scrambled for 10 yards to put the Spiders in the red zone, but Andrew Lopez’s missed field goal made it all for naught and Michigan State ran into the locker room with a 17-0 lead.
While the Spartan offense cruised its way through the first half, the defense held up its end of the bargain. Wickersham was sacked five times in the first two quarters as Michigan State put up a shutout. Defensive back Angelo Grose led the Spartans with six tackles in the first half.
When the teams came back out of the tunnel, Michigan State wasted no time picking up where they left off, executing a 65-yard drive which was capped off by a 2-yard rush by Nathan Carter for a touchdown. Carter would extend the lead on the Spartans’ next drive with a 44-yard touchdown run, bringing his tally to two on the day.
It was Michigan State’s day on both sides of the ball. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the offense added to their lead yet again late in the third quarter. The drive was kept alive when Noah Kim’s pass was deflected in the air and caught by Montorie Foster Jr. on third down. The drive would culminate in Nathan Carter’s third straight touchdown, this time a 6-yard run.
The third quarter ended when Tunmise Adeleye sacked Wickersham, the seventh time the Richmond quarterback went down. The Spiders would end the quarter having gained only two yards in the entire period.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Richmond finally had something to celebrate when Donovan Hoilette picked up a Jordon Simmons fumble and took it 47 yards for a touchdown to put the Spiders on the scoreboard.
The Spartans would answer right back however, as Antonio Gates Jr. caught a 45-yard pass to score a touchdown to extend the lead to 45-7 just six plays later. This was Gates’ first touchdown of the year and Kim’s third of the day.
Richmond would add another touchdown via a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jackson Hardy to Sean Clarke to make it 45-14 after Davion Primm coughed up the Spartans’ second turnover of the day. This would eventually be the final score, giving Michigan State the blowout win.
It’s a win that should give Michigan State some momentum heading into next week. Noah Kim had a breakout performance, racking up 292 yards and three touchdowns to finish off the day while Nathan Carter had three of his own to go along with 111 yards. Meanwhile, the defense came up with seven sacks while holding Richmond to 193 total yards. It was a game the Spartans truly took over.
Next week, however, will be a true test for Michigan State as they take on eighth-ranked Washington at home. That game will be on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Spartan Stadium and will be streamed live on Peacock.