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Bleacher Report: ‘Storied’ MSU football will struggle

The Detroit News

Don’t expect a quick turnaround for the Michigan State football team.

That’s according to Bleacher Report, which on Tuesday listed MSU as one of seven “storied” college football programs it expects to struggle next season.

After reaching the College Football Playoffs two seasons ago, the Spartans finished 3-9 last season, and have had a tumultous offseason that included three unidentified football players being investigated for an alleged sexual assault, a fourth — Auston Robertson — who was dismissed from the team after he was charged with criminal sexual conduct, and legal issues surrounding defensive end Demetrius Cooper, who was accused of spitting on a local code enforcement officer.

In addition, two projected starters — Thiyo Lukusa and Jon Reschke — also left the program.

More tough times could be in store in East Lansing, writes Bleacher Reports David Kenyon.

“Michigan State’s defensive line struggled last season, and the unit lost a talented centerpiece in Malik McDowell,” Kenyon writes. “The Spartans will be young in the trenches this year, which is promising for the future but could bring a frustrating 2017. Although Brian Lewerke was the best option at quarterback before a season-ending injury, he’s only attempted 57 passes.”

Lewerke’s performance in limited action, as well as a backfield of LJ Scott, Gerald Holmes and Madre London are reasons for optimism, Kenyon said, though “simple bowl eligibility seems like the prize.”

“The good news is the Spartans don’t have a glaring weakness,” Kenyon writes. “But other than running back and linebacker — which are complementary positions anyway — there’s no overwhelming strength.”

Also on the list is fellow Big Ten program Nebraska; Notre Dame, which comes to East Lansing for a game Sept. 23; and Florida, which opens its season Sept. 2 against Michigan at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — a game Fox Sports has one of its 11 “must-watch” nonconference games of next season.