EAST LANSING, MI – After a long, enduring summer of waiting for Spartan Football, the time has come again. Michigan State kicks off their season tonight against the Central Michigan Chippewas. Head Coach Mel Tucker and the Spartans have a lot to prove coming into the 2023 season after a rather disappointing 2022 campaign. Coach Tucker came out of the gate in his press conference this week showing his respect to CMU coach Jim McElwain, saying the Spartans will have to be at their best in week one.
“We’ve had a good camp, and we’ve shifted our attention to CMU,” Tucker said. “They’re very well coached and have a good team (…) we’ll have to be at our best.”
The big question mark that still looms is who will trot out to start at quarterback in week one. The battle for the quarterback job is seemingly between redshirt junior Noah Kim and redshirt freshman Katin Houser. Insight into the starting quarterback competition has been kept under wraps all off-season, and it is expected to stay that way until kickoff on Friday night.
Like the Spartans, Central Michigan is coming off a disappointing 2022 season but are returning with some offensive firepower, particularly in the quarterback room. The Chippewas are returning three QB’s from last year’s roster, and their week one quarterback is a mystery as well. Redshirt sophomore Jase Bauer and redshirt freshman Bert Emanuel Jr. both saw a good amount of playing time last season, playing competitively when they saw the field.
The offensive weapons of Michigan State could give the Spartans an edge against a Chippewa defense that was shaky in 2022. Returning playmakers in redshirt senior wide receiver Tre Mosley and senior receiver Montorie Foster Jr. look to carry the load in place of Jayden Reed and Keon Coleman as well as redshirt junior running back Jalen Berger who is primed for a breakout year behind a healthy offensive line.
CMU’s defense is coming off a mediocre 2022 season in which they finished 94th in opponent points per game and 73rd in opponent yards per game. Where the Chippewas really struggled last year was with their rushing defense, but if they can keep their opponents’ rushing game in check, they can hang around defensively in games throughout the season.
For MSU, that unit is going to look to some of the captains on the team such as fifth year senior linebacker Jacoby Windmon and redshirt junior defensive tackle Simeon Barrow to be playmakers on the front seven. The Spartans finished last season ranked 63rd in opponent points per game, and 94th in opponent yards per game, and while MSU dealt with injuries and off the field matters throughout the season, they are sure to be coming back with a fire on the defensive side of the ball to open up 2023.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday evening at Spartan Stadium. The game will be broadcast on FS1.