Michigan State, QB Brian Lewerke Needs More Help from Awful Running Game


brian lewerke

If the #20 Michigan State Spartans are going to have the kind of season that we’ve been used to seeing them have in the 2010s, then quarterback Brian Lewerke is going to need much more help out of the running game. Unless the Spartans rushing attack gets on track, the Spartans are in for a season that will fall well short of expectations. They have to do something about their running game: better blocking, new running shoes for training, harder practices/workout regimens, shake-up the depth chart, tweak the scheme, something.

Otherwise, this season is headed downhill in a hurry. Having reached the college football playoff in 2015, getting back there is the ultimate goal for Michigan State.

brian lewerke

However, those dreams all but died yesterday. Right now, the Spartans don’t look like an upper division team in the league. They are certainly not among the elite in their division, which is the toughest in all of college football.

If you look above the Spartans in the Associated Press poll, you’ll see four teams in their conference and three in their division: #3 Ohio State, #11 Penn State and #15 Michigan from the Big Ten East and #16 Wisconsin (who they do not play this season) from the Big Ten West.

It’s about to get real for the Spartans now as they’ll travel to Penn State next week, and host arch-rival Michigan the following week. Ohio State looms just three weeks later. As the degree of difficulty increases, Michigan State can’t rely on just the arm of Lewerke to get them by, and win games by being one-dimensional.

The offense needs more balance, so the offensive line needs to step up their run blocking, and the running backs need to better establish themselves. When you see the MSU rushing statistics on the season, they are far from impressive and that’s alarming given how those stats were racked up against the softer portion of the schedule. They came into yesterday’s 29-19 Homecoming loss to Northwestern with a rushing offense near the bottom of the league, ranking nationally in triple digits.

brian lewerke

Lewerke has often played like a maverick this season, consistently making some real riverboat gambler type decisions. It definitely makes for very entertaining football, but it also backfires a lot. It’s going to be a real problem once they start facing that top ten competition. 

Brian Lewerke has had to be a gunslinger this season due to the overall dreadfulness of the running game. With senior starter at tailback LJ Scott out for his third straight game with an ankle injury today, State was able to muster only 41 yards rushing, at a very meager 2.9 yards per carry, by halftime against NU.

It’s one of the major reasons why the Spartans, consensus double digit favorites for this game, went into the break down 14-6, and went on to disappoint the crowd of 72,850 with a double digit loss.

They only managed 96 yards rushing for the day, and half off those came on one rush, a trick play TD achieved by wide receiver Felton Davis. When half your rushing yards come via a wide receiver, your ground game is in serious trouble.

Being this one dimensional hurts Brian Lewerke a lot, as the added pressure can severely deteriorate his composure in the pocket, and thus inevitably lead to major mistakes. Plus his receiving corps had a case of the dropsies against Northwestern, and it all added up to an offense that wasn’t clicking and couldn’t find the end zone in the first half. 

Michigan State has had double digit wins in four of the last five seasons. Since 2010 they have won 11+ five times and 10+ six times.

Right now they look like a team that is a far cry away from reaching those benchmarks.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.


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