Michigan State hosts Central Michigan in a Week 1 matchup on Friday evening to help kick off the 2023 college football season. Both sides are hungry to start the season with a win after they produced losing campaigns in 2022. Michigan State went 5-7, while CMU had a 4-8 record last year. These schools last matched up in 2018 when Michigan State secured a 31-20 win over the Chippewas. The Spartans are 8-3 all-time against the Chippewas
Kickoff at Spartan Stadium is at 7 p.m. ET. The Spartans are 13.5-point favorites in the Central Michigan vs. Michigan State odds via the SportsLine consensus. The over/under for total points is is 45. Before locking in any Michigan State vs. Central Michigan picks, be sure to check out the college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s proven simulation model.
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Here are three positive and three negative takeaways from Michigan State’s season-opening victory:
1.) Michigan State’s defense impresses
It took a while for the Spartans to settle in defensively, but once that happened this unit completely shut down the Chippewas’ offense.
Most impressive was Michigan State’s work against the run, as they held CMU to just three yards per carry and 119 total yards on the ground. The Spartans’ defensive line was as advertised — multiple times we saw Derrick Harmon and Jalen Sami completely destroy a Chippewa O-lineman and blow up a play. Additionally, after a few miss-tackles early, MSU’s linebackers settled in as well.
The Spartans were able to get Central Michigan into several third-and-long situations and, unlike previous years, were able to get off the field. The Chippewas converted just 2-of-13 third downs, and Michigan State came up with three sacks on the night. CMU was held to just 215 yards of offense on the night. Nice start to the year on that side of the ball for MSU.
2.) Jonathan Kim easing kicking concerns?
One of the biggest question marks for Michigan State coming into the season was who the Spartans would trot out on field goal attempts. MSU had a disasterous season in that department in 2022 and, understandably, the concern was field goal kicking could cost them a game or two in 2023.
While the sample size is small, North Carolina transfer Jonathan Kim eased some of those concerns when he nailed a 47-yard field goal that would’ve been good from 55-plus. Kim handled Michigan State’s kickoff duties as well, and outside of one kickoff that went out of bounds he performed well there as well.
Kim still has to show that he can be relied on week to week, but this was a nice start for the transfer.
3.) Welcome to the show, Jaron Glover
We wondered which receiver would step up and join redshirt senior Tre Mosley as a reliable option in the pass game, and we may be one step closer to an answer.
Redshirt freshman Jaron Glover made his presence felt in a crucial two-minute scoring drive for the Spartans at the end of the first half. Glover created separation from his defender and hauled in a pair of deep pass attempts to set up MSU at the two yard line and their first touchdown of the season.
The freshman finished with three catches for 75 yards to lead Michigan State in receiving yardage. While we didn’t see much of Glover in the stat sheet after that late first half drive, he helped turn this game around for the Spartans. I expect to see much more of the second-year receiver in the weeks to come.
1.) Alante Brown injury
After a plethora of injuries last season, the last thing any of us wanted to see was an expected starter get hurt tonight. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to wide receiver Alante Brown on the game’s opening kickoff.
Brown laid a big hit on a Central Michigan defender with his left shoulder, but immediately went down and looked to be in considerable pain. Brown was carted off the field on a backboard, but later returned to MSU’s sideline in street clothes.
Brown was expected to be one of three starting receivers for the Spartans tonight, but we never got to see if he would have been out there for Michigan State’s first drive. The extent of Brown’s injury is currently unknown, but we’ll certainly be monitoring that.
2.) Noah Kim shows flashes, but was inconsistent
Noah Kim got the nod at starting quarterback, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say the redshirt junior locked up the job. Kim got off to a very slow start, completing just three of his first 10 pass attempts. In the quarterback’s defense, he had a nice deep ball to tight end Maliq Carr on MSU’s second drive which was dropped.
Kim did come alive at the end of the first half, however. After airmailing a throw to a wide open Carr, the junior bounced back by dropping a pair of dimes to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jaron Glover to set up the Spartans’ first touchdown of the year.
Kim carried that momentum into the second half, and had a handful of nice throws. His touchdown toss to Tyrell Henry early in the fourth quarter was an underthrown ball, and it took an incredible play on the ball from Henry to complete the pass. However, Kim’s touchdown toss to Carr late in the game was a nice ball.
For the game, Kim completed 18-of-31 attempts for 279 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. Putting his performance in the ‘Three Down’ category may not be fair, but the inconsistency Kim displayed is a bit concerning. The redshirt junior certainly didn’t end MSU’s quarterback debate tonight, but he’ll be the starter next week against Richmond.
3.) MSU run game stifled
Coming in to the game, I expected the Spartans’ offense to be sluggish and have to work through some hiccups. That said, I really thought Michigan State would be able to run the ball more effectively than we saw in this game.
We heard a lot in fall camp about improvement in the run game, from improved tight end blocking, to improved competition at offensive line, to a pair of capable backs in Nathan Carter and Jalen Berger. Unfortunately, we saw a lot of the same issues which plagued the Spartans’ rushing attack a year ago — little to no push up front, and backs not hitting the right holes.
Michigan State was held to just 4.4 yards per carry and a total of 137 rushing yards. That’s not going to get the job done when the competition level goes up in a couple weeks.
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