Michigan and Michigan State football look to build off last season’s success


Photo courtesy of The Detroit Free Press

Michigan State University defeated The University of Michigan last Saturday 10/30 in a highly anticipated game, 37-33.

Both the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans exceeded expectations last football season. The Wolverines went 12-2, beat Ohio State in dominating fashion, won the Big Ten Championship and made it to the College Football Playoff, where they lost in the Orange Bowl to the Georgia Bulldogs, 34-11. The Spartans, who many thought were still in the rebuilding process, compiled an 11-2 record, beat Michigan in one of the best games in recent memory and beat the Pittsburgh Panthers 31-21 in the Peach Bowl. 

Both teams are riding high into the upcoming year after those successful seasons. Some key returning players for the Wolverines include Cade McNamara, J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum, and R.J. Moten. At the same time, the Spartans bring back Payton Thorne, Jayden Reed, Jacob Slade, and Cal Haladay.

The big decision for Michigan is who will be the starting quarterback for this year’s squad between McNamara and McCarthy. McNamara is the proven starter who led the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff, but McCarthy is a player with a superior ceiling and athleticism. It will also be interesting to see how the defense responds to the losses of Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, Daxton Hill and Josh Ross.

For the Spartans, their quarterback is set with Thorne at the helm, who threw 27 touchdowns last season, a Michigan State record. In addition, wide receiver Reed returned to school after a breakout year as Thornes’ top target. 

Replacing Kenneth Walker Ⅲ is a tall task, but head coach Mel Tucker navigates the transfer portal like no other and added Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard to his running back room. Other notable transfers Tucker added include Daniel Barker (Tight End), Jacoby Windmon (Linebacker), Aaron Brule (Linebacker), and Ameer Speed (Cornerback). All of these additions should contribute to a more effective defense this season.

Regarding schedule, the Wolverines have a lighter schedule up until October, when they will face Iowa on the road and Penn State and Michigan State at home. The ultimate matchup occurs at the end of November when they travel to Columbus to play Ohio State. 

The most notable games on the Spartans’ schedule include Wisconsin and Ohio State at home and Michigan and Penn State on the road. Another intriguing matchup to look forward to is when the Spartans take on the Washington Huskies in mid-September.

The strength of the Wolverines team will once again be their offensive line. The world watched this unit overpower the Buckeyes last year and will hope to replicate that this season. 

The offensive line and combination of Blake Corum, Erick All, Roman Wilson, Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson should be a productive and exciting offense. Yet it remains to be seen which quarterback will be getting these guys the ball. 

The defense for the Spartans is what many are most excited to see for this upcoming season. The transfer portal additions and proven players they already have should keep most offenses in check. 

The connection between Thorne and Reed will be a sight to see. Look out for Keon Coleman and Tre Mosley to increase their production. The tight-end duo of Barker and Maliq Carr will also be dynamic. 

Both programs have the coaching staff, players and culture to have another successful season. Time will tell if these programs can put it all together to compete for a Big Ten Championship and beyond.