Injuries force MSU to scramble lineup in win over Indiana
Bloomington, Ind. — Michigan State had last week off to get some players healthy.
However, by the time the Spartans had beaten Indiana, 35-21, in the Big Ten opener at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night, the injury list had grown significantly.
Junior wide receiver Darrell Stewart, sophomore guard Kevin Jarvis, sophomore offensive lineman Luke Campbell, junior cornerback Josh Butler and sophomore receiver Cam Chambers all suffered injuries against the Hoosiers, and aside from Campbell, who returned late in the fourth quarter, none returned.
“We got quite a few guys coming in and out,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We had some other guys go down tonight. How substantial that is, I’m not sure, but Cam Chambers went out early. I think everyone else, probably will be OK, but we’ll see.”
Stewart’s injury, which was to his left ankle, came after he had just two catches, but his absence caused some shuffling. His injury, along with the loss of Chambers, led to more time for fifth-year senior receiver Brandon Sowards as well as freshman Jalen Nailor, who also shared kick returning duties with sophomore Laress Nelson.
Jarvis appeared to hurt his right ankle, which caused some more shuffling along the offensive line. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Blake Bueter while fifth-year senior David Beedle took over for Campbell at left guard. Beedle was back in the lineup after getting hurt two weeks ago. He, along with junior left tackle Cole Chewins, saw limited snaps. Chewins had played just one play before Saturday’s game.
Butler’s injury came late in the game. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Shakur Brown, who earlier in the game returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown.
The most significant player on the sideline was running back LJ Scott. He was hurt early in the second half two weeks ago at Arizona State. He was dressed and on the sidelines Saturday and Dantonio opted to use a committee to replace Scott as sophomore Connor Heyward, freshman La'Darius Jefferson and redshirt freshman Weston Bridges saw playing time.
“LJ didn’t play tonight. He’s been hampered by an ankle,” Dantonio said. “He’s gotten progressively better over the course of this week but he hadn’t practiced so we didn’t play him.”
On the defensive line, sophomore end Jacub Panasiuk returned after missing the Arizona State game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys hurt,” defensive tackle Raequan Williams said. “That’s what we pride ourselves on, Spartan toughness. All those guys fighting through nicks and bruises to come out and play today, they know how big this game was. I Appreciate all of them.”