LJ Scott accounted for two touchdowns in a dose of sweet redemption as Michigan State beat Western Michigan 28-14 on Saturday.
Western Michigan senior Darius Phillips (Dearborn Heights Robichaud) returned a 100-yard kickoff for a touchdown and returned a fumble 67 yards for another score.
Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke rushed for two touchdowns – including a 61-yard scamper in the first quarter.
Scott had 18 carries for 86 yards. He caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first half and rushed for a 2-yard TD.
The Spartans, who had 11 sacks all of last year, recorded four today against Western Michigan.
The Broncos were 1-of-15 on third downs.
Michigan State outgained Western Michigan 457-195.
Spartans run out the clock
Michigan State’s Darrell Stewart took an end around for a first-down carry of 18 yards to help the Spartans run out the clock and win 28-14.
Western Michigan drive stalls deep in Spartans territory
On fourth-and-1 with 3:17 left, from the Spartans' 15-yard line, Western Michigan junior running back Jamauri Bogan was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage — and just before he was about to be corralled, he threw a lateral pass across the field to wide receiver Keishawn Watson.
Watson burst forward for several yards — but was just shy of the first-down marker.
The play was reviewed, and the call stood.
Michigan State takes over on downs. The Spartans lead 28-14 with 2:52 left.
Broncos convert three times on fourth down
Western Michigan is deep within Michigan State territory with 3:38 left. Michigan State leads 28-14.
Western Michigan has converted three fourth-down situations on the drive, as Broncos sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink is flashing his poise.
Here's how the drive has transpired: On fourth-and-5 with 6:04 left, from their own 36, the Broncos opted go for it. Wassink burst through the middle for a first-down carry and dove between Spartans defenders to move the chains.
Wassink then connected with sophomore wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge on two fourth-down conversions.
The first: On fourth-and-8 with 5:08 left, from their own 46, Wassink found Eskridge for a first down to the Spartans 39.
From there, Wassink threw deep toward receiver Keishawn Watson, who was covered by Spartans safety Khari Willis on the sideline. Wassink completed a pass to tight end Donnie Ernsberger for a 9-yard gain. But on third-and-1, running back LeVante Bellamy was stopped for a 2-yard loss.
Western Michigan faced another fourth down, this time fourth-and-3 with 4:10 left. But Wassink hit Eskridge again for a first-down reception.
Lewerke's fumble reviewed, Spartans punt
Michigan State avoided a turnover when Brian Lewerke’s fumble was touched by a Western Michigan player who was out of bounds.
The Broncos nearly took possession at the Spartans 44 as 7:32 remains in the fourth quarter.
Michigan State leads 28-14.
On third-and-8, Lewerke was pressured, rolled to his left, and was taken down near the sideline by linebacker Asantay Brown. Lewerke fumbled on the play as he used the ball to brace his fall. Western Michigan recovered – but after officials convened, it was ruled that the ball was touched by a Broncos player who was out of bounds.
An official review followed, and the call stood.
Michigan State punted and the Broncos will begin their next rive at their own 32-yard line.
Phillips electrifies again
Western Michigan senior Darius Phillips has struck again.
Phillips returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to cut the Spartans lead to 28-14 with 10:37 left in the third quarter.
It's Phillips' fifth kickoff return for a touchdown in his career.
Phillips, an alum of Dearborn Heights Robichaud, has accounted for both Western Michigan touchdowns today. Early in the third quarter, Phillips stripped Spartans freshman Hunter Rison and returned a fumble 67 yards for a touchdown.
Phillips, an all-MAC defensive back, torched the Spartans for two touchdowns in their previous meeting in 2015.
Broncos decline personal foul, helps Spartans get into end zone
An interesting choice by Western Michigan has helped Michigan State find the end zone.
Here’s what happened: On third-and-5, Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke found Darrell Stewart for a 4-yard passing play, short of the chains.
On the play, Spartans sophomore offensive tackle Cole Chewins (Clarkston) was called for a personal foul when he delivered a late shot on Western Michigan’s Eric Assoua, who was injured on the play.
And then things got strange: The penalty, oddly enough, was declined by Western Michigan. That placed the Spartans into a fourth-and-1 situation at their own 45-yard line.
And Michigan State made the Broncos pay.
Spartans junior running back LJ Scott took a handoff and rumbled 44 yards to the Western Michigan 11-yard line.
Three plays later, Scott plunged into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown to give Michigan State a 28-7 lead with 10:48 left in the fourth quarter. The nine-play, 76-yard drive took 4:59.
During the drive, Stewart was limping as he got off the field.
Broncos 1-of-11 on third down
Western Michigan has punted yet again.
The Spartans lead 21-7 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Broncos have shown glimpses of production, but continue to stall. This time around, sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy took consecutive carries for 23 yards to move the chains, but three straight incompletions ended the drive.
On third down, Western Michigan sophomore receiver Anton Curtis (Detroit East English Village Prep) had a pass glance off his finger tips to stall a drive. It was, however, a high throw from Broncos sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink.
Wassink is 7-for-17 for 39 yards and one interception. He’s been sacked four times.
Western Michigan is 1-for-11 on third downs.
Phillips nearly makes another play
The Spartans have gone three-and-out. And they nearly committed a turnover.
Western Michigan senior cornerback Darius Phillips (Dearborn Heights Robichaud) nearly intercepted Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke on third down. Phillips made a diving snag as he jumped in front of MSU receiver Trishton Jackson, but the ball popped out as he hit the grass.
Afterward, Lewerke was caught on camera talking to Jackson. Perhaps he ran the wrong route.
The Spartans lead the Broncos 21-7 with 1:31 left in the third quarter.
Phillips returned a fumble 67 yards for a touchdown earlier in the quarter.
Williams records Michigan State's 4th sack of game
Spartans sophomore defensive tackle Raequan Williams sacked Broncos sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink. It’s the fourth sack of the day for the Spartans, who recorded 11 total last season.
Williams’ sack was for an 8-yard loss and led to a Western Michigan punt from its own 25.
Michigan State freshman Laress Nelson returned the punt 15 yards and flashed his athletic abilities on the play.
The Spartans will begin their drive on their own 46.
The Spartans lead 21-7 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
Western Michigan was flagged for an illegal block on the kickoff to begin its drive on its own 11.
How dominant is the Spartans defense? Western Michigan is 1-for-10 on third down and has 122 total yards.
Stewart keys TD drive
Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke plunged into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown to help the Spartans extend their lead to 21-7 with 6:07 left in the third quarter.
On the previous play, Spartans sophomore Darrell Stewart Jr. came within inches of the goal line, but he was caught from behind.
Stewart caught a 16-yard pass on the drive and Madre London moved the chains with a 3-yard carry to help the Spartans converted on third-and-1.
One play later, Stewart caught a pass and weaved through defenders for a 46-yard gain. He was caught by Broncos defensive back Obbie Jackson.
Last week, Stewart was caught from behind at the 2-yard line after a 40-yard gain and said he was “starving for the end zone,” according to Detroit News writer Matt Charboneau.
Rison stripped, Phillips returns fumble for TD
Hunter Rison’s first carry of his college career ended poorly.
Western Michigan electric playmaker Darius Phillips stood up Rison, then stripped him of the football. Phillips managed to stay in bounds — and keep his knee off the ground — then rumbled down the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown.
The Spartans lead had been cut to 14-7 with 8:43 left in the third quarter.
Rison, a freshman who attended Ann Arbor Skyline, is the son of former NFL standout receiver Andre Rison.
Phillips is an alum of Dearborn Heights Robichaud.
The drive began with a 25-yard passing play from Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke to receiver Felton Davis III (four catches, 69 yards).
Cooper, Willekes make fourth down stop
The Spartans lead 14-0 with 9:00 left in the third quarter.
Spartans senior defensive end Demetrius Cooper and sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes combined to make a stop on fourth-and-1 and give Michigan State the ball.
Here's how Western Michigan's first drive of the half transpired: On third-and-5, sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy moved the chains with a 9-yard carry for a first down.
From there, Broncos junior running back Jamauri Bogan took back-to-back carries to create a fourth-and-1 situation.
The Broncos tried a quick snap with a handoff to Bogan, but Cooper and Willekes bottled him up for no gain.
There was some bad news on the drive: Spartans sophomore middle linebacker Joe Bachie needed assistance to get off the field. During the week, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio labeled Bachie as a dynamic player with a Chris Spielman-like approach to the game, according to the Spartans website.
On a good note: Spartans freshman cornerback Josiah Scott made another key play to force an incompletion on a deep passing play. Scott ran stride for stride with Broncos receiver Giovanni Ricci, who got a hand on the ball as he leaped into the air, but Scott aided the incompletion with solid coverage.
Spartans go three-and-out
The Spartans' Darrell Stewart returned the third quarter opening kickoff to the 23-yard line, but a penalty on the Spartans (holding) will place the ball on the 13-yard line.
The penalty was called on junior Byron Bullough.
From there, the Spartans first series of the second half ended in a three-and-out.
Broncos freshman defensive lineman Nick Matich sacked Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke on third down.
Western Michigan will begin its drive at its own 36.
First half stats: Spartans defense dominates
Michigan State leads Western Michigan 14-0 and leads the total yardage category (232-85).
The Spartans defense has recorded three sacks and an interception by freshman cornerback Josiah Scott, who has drawn consistent praise from coach Mark Dantonio.
Western Michigan is 0-for-7 on third downs and has moved the chains five times.
Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke has three carries for 75 yards – most coming on a 61-yard TD in the first quarter.
Lewerke is 8-for-15 passing for 89 yards. He threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to LJ Scott, who found nice redemption after last week (two fumbles).
Lewerke was also intercepted by Broncos all-MAC defensive back Darius Phillips (Dearborn Heights Robichaud).
Josiah Scott intercepted Broncos sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink to stall the first drive to the game.
Spartans senior linebacker Andrew Dowell and freshman Brandon Randle have each recorded a sack. Senior linebacker Chris Frey combined for a sack with sophomore cornerback Josh Butler.
Frey might have saved a touchdown in the second quarter. Broncos redshirt sophomore wide receiver Keishawn Watson burned past the Spartans defense, but Frey hit Wassink as he released the football to cause an underthrown pass.
Randle sacks Wassink
Spartans redshirt freshman Brandon Randle sacked Broncos redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink for a 4-yard loss. That set up a third-and-14 with 46 seconds left in the half.
On third-and-14 from its own 37, Western Michigan elected to handoff to senior running back Jarvion Franklin. He gained 10 yards.
The Broncos were placed into a fourth-and-4 situation and the clocked rolled down toward the end of the half.
But Spartans coach Mark Dantonio took a time out with 8 seconds left in the half.
Broncos players and coaches were in mid-jog when Dantonio called timeout.
As the dust settled, players returned, and the Broncos appeared set to punt from their own 48, coach Tim Lester took a time out.
The drama, so to speak, turned out to be punchless. Western Michigan punter Derrick Mitchell kicked the ball into the end zone to leave 1 second on the clock.
The Spartans elected to kneel.
The Spartans lead 14-0 at the half.
Spartans forced to punt
Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke threw back-to-back incompletions to halt a drive. The Spartans punted from their own 36 with 1:10 left in the half.
Spartans junior punter Jake Hartbarger smartly kicked the ball out of the direction of electric return man Darius Phillips.
Western Michigan will begin its drive at their own 29 with 1:03 left in the half.
Michigan State leads 14-0.
The Spartans began the drive at their own 8-yard line. Gerald Holmes took three consecutive handoffs to move the chains, and from there, Lewerke hit LJ Scott for a first-down reception of 10 yards.
Panasiuk makes key play
Western Michigan’s Darius Phillips showed his electricity when he eluded defenders and shifted directions for a kickoff return of 52 yards. That allowed the Broncos to start a drive at the Spartans 48.
But Spartans freshman defensive end Jacub Panasiuk made a key play to halt the drive. He corralled Broncos sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy for a 7-yard loss.
That created a third-and-15, and Broncos sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink threw an incomplete pass.
Western Michigan punted from its own 47.
The Broncos are 0-for-6 on third down.
Michigan State will begin its next drive at its own 8.
The Spartans lead 14-0 with 4:27 left in the half.
LJ Scott finds redemption
Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to LJ Scott, who ran a wheel route along the sideline.
The Spartans lead Western Michigan 14-0 with 6:04 left in the half.
The Spartans drive began and their own 49-yard line.
Lewerke rushed 12 yards for a first down, and from there, Madre London touched the ball four straight times – including a first-down carry to convert on third-and-2.
The key play was on third-and-8 at the Broncos 26: Lewerke hit receiver Felton Davis III for a first-down gain of 11 yards.
Two plays later, Scott caught a pass on a wheel route.
Dowell's shoestring tackle pins Broncos deep
The Spartans defense continues to shine and forced another Broncos three-and-out.
This time around, Spartans senior linebacker Andrew Dowell made a shoestring tackle on Broncos redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink for an 11-yard loss.
That set up third-and-25 at the Western Michigan 4-yard line. The Broncos chose the safe route with a handoff to sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy for a 3-yard gain and punted from their own end zone.
Sophomore wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. received the punt inside his own territory and returned it to the MSU 49.
The Spartans lead 7-0 with 8:20 left in the half.
Michigan State has held Western Michigan to 71 total yards.
Spartans cornerback Josh Butler and senior linebacker Chris Frey combined to sack Wassink for a 4-yard loss on first down. Dowell’s play came on second down.
Beedle's penalty hurts Spartans
The Spartans have been forced to punt for the second time.
Spartans junior right guard David Beedle (Clarkston) was flagged for a holding call to cause a first-and-20.
From there, Spartans junior tight end Matt Sokol (Rochester Adams) caught a pass for a 17-yard gain. But on third-and-2, Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke threw in the direction of Felton Davis III, but he was covered by Broncos all-MAC cornerback Darius Phillips.
The Spartans punted 45 yards and Western Michigan will start its next drive at its 20.
Spartans' Frey's pressure might have saved touchdown
Spartans senior linebacker Chris Frey might have just saved a touchdown.
Broncos redshirt sophomore wide receiver Keishawn Watson burned past the Spartans defense, but sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink was hit by Frey as he released the football.
The result: An underthrown pass that eluded Watson.
That caused a third-and-9 at the 46. From there, Broncos senior running back Jarvion Franklin rushed seven yards to the MSU 45.
But Western Michigan elected to punt and downed the Spartans at their own 10-yard line.
It's 7-0 Spartans with 12:30 left in the half.
Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke aired the ball deep into double coverage for Felton Davis III, but Broncos all-MAC defensive back Darius Phillips picked it off at the Western Michigan 25.
Darrell Stewart Jr. and LJ Scott took handoffs to setup a third-and-1 at the Spartans 30, and then Lewerke took a quick handoff to move the chains for a 1-yard gain and first down.
But on the next play, Phillips (Dearborn Heights Robichaud) recorded his 11th career interception.
The Spartans lead 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Broncos go three-and-out
Western Michigan began its drive at the 24-yard line.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink completed a swing pass to redshirt sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy for a 5-yard gain.
On second down, the Broncos were flagged for a delay of game.
From there, Broncos redshirt sophomore wide receiver Anton Curtis (Detroit East English Village Prep) dropped a pass. That set up third-and-10, but Wassink’s pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Keishawn Watson was short of the sticks.
Western Michigan is 0-for-3 on third downs.
Broncos junior Derrick Mitchell punted a wobbly ball that was downed at the Michigan State 21.
Lewerke rushes for 61-yard TD
Spartans sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke rushed 61 yards for a touchdown. Michigan State leads Western Michigan 7-0 with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
Spartans junior running back LJ Scott was benched for the first series but returned and took three straight handoffs to move the chains. He totaled 13 yards.
Western Michigan was flagged for 12-men on the field (the play was reviewed, and the call stood). That placed the Spartans at their own 39-yard line.
On the next play, Lewerke faked a handoff on the zone-read play, went up the middle, and rushed past Western Michigan defenders 61 yards for a touchdown.
Spartans redshirt freshman right tackle Luke Campbell made a key block on the play. Also, Scott sold the fake to spring Lewerke.
Bogan gets five straight handoffs
The Broncos, pinned at their own 4-yard line, moved out of the shadows of their own goal post with multiple handoffs to redshirt junior running back Jamauri Bogan.
Bogan took five straight handoffs.
But on third-and-4, Spartans sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes stuffed Bogan for a 2-yard loss.
Western Michigan punted. During the return, Spartans freshman Cody White (Walled Lake Western) was called for an illegal block in the back.
The Spartans will begin their next drive at their own 20.
Lewerke's deep pass broken up
The Spartans drive started with promise as receiver Felton Davis III caught a pass across the middle on a slant pattern for a 16-yard gain and first down. On the next play, Spartans running back Gerald Holmes ran 13 yards.
Holmes started the game in favor of LJ Scott, who fumbled twice last week.
The Spartans best chance came when quarterback Brian Lewerke aired a deep pass inside the 10-yard line, intended for receiver Trishton Jackson, but it was broken up by All-MAC cornerback Darius Phillips. (On the play, Holmes saved Lewerke from being blindsided and sacked when he picked up a blitz.)
On the next play, Jackson dropped a third-down pass and the Spartans faced a fourth-and-7.
Spartan junior punter Jake Hartbarger placed a kick out of bounds at the Western Michigan 4-yard line, where the Broncos will begin their next drive.
Scott picks off Broncos QB Wassink
Western Michigan redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink completed consecutive passes to move the chains for a first down to sophomore wide receivers D'Wayne Eskridge and Keishawn Watson.
Redshirt sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy gained nine yards for a first down.
But on third-and-8 from the Spartans 46, Wassink was intercepted by Spartans freshman cornerback Josiah Scott.
The Spartans will begin a drive on their own 27.
Scanlon gets touchback
Michigan State kickoff specialist Brett Scanlon is a transfer from Western Michigan. He kicked off deep to Darius Phillips, who took a knee in the end zone for a touchback.
Phillips gets a chance to shine
Western Michigan has elected to receive, which means the Spartans will have to contain (or avoid) electric return specialist Darius Phillips.
Phillips, who is an alum of Dearborn Heights Robichaud, torched the Spartans for two touchdowns in their 2015 meeting.
Phillips, who was the 2016 MAC Special Teams Player of the Year, has returned four kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns.
“I’m banking on all the other ones he didn’t return,” Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said on his WJR 760 AM pregame radio show.
Spartans success dates back to 1919
The last time Western Michigan won in Spartan Stadium? Ninety-eight years ago. Yes, it was 1919.
The Spartans will wear their all-white uniforms. It's the first time the Spartans have worn white helmets since 1954.
One interesting matchup will be the Western Michigan running back trio of redshirt junior Jamauri Bogan, senior Jarvion Franklin and redshirt sophomore LeVante Bellamy against the Michigan State defensive line.
How will they fare against Spartans defensive tackles Raequan Williams and Mike Panasiuk and middle linebacker Joe Bachie?
MICHIGAN STATE VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
TV / radio: Big Ten Network / WJR 760
Records: Michigan State 1-0, Western Michigan 0-1
Line: Michigan State by 7
Series: Michigan State leads 12-2