It's that time again, another week has gone by and another game is on tap. This week the Spartans head to Central Michigan for a pretty neat road game just up U.S. 127.
The Chips won their season opener against Southeast Missouri State 38-27 and had great success running the ball in that game. Keep in mind, former MSU assistant coach Dan Enos is the CMU head coach.
Here are five things to look for in tomorrow's game (3:30 pm., ESPNU/ESPN3.com):
1. Rotating wide receivers -- DeAnthony Arnett
One of the major questions following the Spartans' win against Boise State was where was Arnett? The former highly touted recruit was not on the field, spare a few snaps. Well, expect to see him much more this week.
There also has been a little talk about Aaron Burbridge this week, could be something to watch. Andre Sims Jr. should see more action this week, too. Sims was the first wide receiver picked in the spring game draft had just one catch in week one. Keep an eye on Tony Lippett as well and see how he bounces back from a frustrating week one. Lippett appears to have the best ability to get open and make plays downfield of the wide receivers, but struggled to hold the ball against Boise State.
Andrew Maxwell only completed eight passes to wide receivers (of 22 total) in the season opener, and that number must increase starting against the Chips.
2. Less than 20 carries for Le'Veon Bell
The Spartans monster back had 50 total touches in the first game, a fact that was well-documented. His health is as important to Michigan State as Denard Robinson's is to Michigan -- he has to be on the field. To keep him fresh, this is the kind of game where playing less of Bell is a good move by the coaching staff.
Less carries means more passes for Maxwell, and more carries specifically for Nick Hill. The talk of Bell to the NFL has begun, and Hill would be the leading returning rusher come next season so it's time to get him some carries.
3. CMU wide receiver Cody Wilson
The Chips went wild running the ball last week and have good size up front, but can running back Zurlon Tipton go off against Michigan State like he did against Southest Missouri State? That question doesn't even dignify a response. Tipton had 180 yards and three scores in CMU's first game of the season, but is going to have a much tougher time against the MSU front seven. This means seeing Wilson get the ball in his hands. Quarterback Ryan Radcliff will look the the senior often, which leads me to my next point.
4. Chances for the MSU secondary
The Spartans defensive game plan is pretty consistent: press coverage on the edges with Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard, and nine in the box to stuff the run. So, as MSU will work to stuff the run and allow few yards to the CMU ground attack, the ball will be in the air. The Spartans picked off four passes last year against CMU -- two from Radcliff and two from A.J. Westendorp. With the pressure that Radcliff is going to face, there will be mistakes -- and chances for interceptions.
Also, expect to see more of Kurtis Drummond this week in regular packages, not just the nickel defense.
5. A great atmosphere
This is the first time Michigan State has gone to Mount Pleasant and it should lead to a pretty awesome game. Mark Hollis' three-for-one home/away plan is great -- the Spartans also will go to EMU and WMU in the future. This is the start of that.
Kelly-Shorts Stadium added 2,500 seats to the student section and built new suites, as well. This game is a big deal to Central Michigan, and in turn, it should feel the same way for MSU fans. Sure, it won't be a true road game in every sense, but for those in attendance, it should be pretty awesome.
The game in East Lansing last year was a rout for MSU -- a 45-7 victory. With a mostly new MSU offense still being broken in, the challenges still are there. This is a great game to iron out some of those kinks. CMU will struggle to score and move the ball -- last year the Chips had just 112 total yards.
Time to spread your wings, Andrew Maxwell. This is a big game for the junior before facing Notre Dame next week.
Michigan State 37, Central Michigan 14