East Lansing — Michigan State lost a game on Saturday, and in the process lost one of its best players.
Senior wide receiver Felton Davis ruptured his Achilles tendon during a 21-7 loss to Michigan, ending his season and career at Michigan State.
“Felton has got an Achilles tear so he out for the season obviously, but he'll bounce back and have a successful pro career,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “But that's unfortunate and you know it happened right before halftime, so that's something we have to regroup around at halftime, which I thought we did. Came out and played hard in the third quarter and did some things, but we're going to lose him in that regard.
“We've had quite a few injuries to wide receivers this year, but you gotta deal with it, that's part of the game. Nobody is crying.”
Davis is the latest to go down, joining sophomore Cody White, who broke his hand against Central Michigan and hasn’t played since. Junior Darrell Stewart has also missed two games with an ankle injury while freshman Jalen Nailor missed three games with an undisclosed injury.
Sophomore Cam Chambers is playing with a bad left thumb while sophomore Laress Nelson did not play on Saturday after having a big game at Penn State last week. Redshirt freshman C.J. Hayes was also not active after playing vs. Penn State.
Davis was injured without any contact. He took off from the line of scrimmage on the snap late in the first half and immediately fell to the ground and reached down toward his left foot. His left leg was looked at by trainers before he was carted off the field.
Entering Saturday's game, Davis led Michigan State in receptions (31), receiving yards (474) and touchdown receptions (four). He was held without a reception against Michigan's top-ranked passing defense before suffering the injury.
“That sucks. My prayers to him, for sure,” quarterback Brian Lewerke said. “It’s not gonna help our offense, that’s for sure, to have him out. We’ll have some other guys step up.”
It’s also a big blow to morale for the Spartans, especially the tight-knit receivers.
“It definitely feels like more than a friend, we’re brothers,” Stewart said. “It does hurt seeing a brother go down but one thing about Felton is he is a very encouraging person. He’s not a down person. He has a lot of energy and he told me I’ve got to lead the group.”
Added senior safety Khari Willis, “I talked to him and found out at some point during the game. He is a tough competitor, and I wish the best for him and hope he can recover. That is my brother, and I am going to be there for him.”
MSU's Khari Willis on loss to Michigan The Detroit News
Davis’ injury was not the only one the Spartans suffered on Saturday.
Sophomore center Matt Allen hurt his leg in the second half and did not return. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Blake Bueter as Michigan State continued to juggle its banged-up offensive line.
Sophomore Kevin Jarvis returned after missing three games with an ankle injury and played extensively at left guard while sophomore Luke Campbell played most of the game at right guard and after spending most of the last two games on the bench.
Juniors Cole Chewins and Tyler Higby split time at left tackle while sophomore Jordan Reid went the whole game at right tackle. Fifth-year senior David Beedle (shoulder) missed his second straight game.
Senior running back LJ Scott started after missing four games with an ankle injury.
“We've had a lot of injuries, more than we've had in the past,” Dantonio said, “but we measure ourselves on how we play as a team and the team has 120 people on it.’
Redshirt freshman quarterback Rocky Lombardi completed his first career pass, a 9-yard hookup with Stewart in the fourth quarter.
… Junior cornerback Justin Layne also played offense, getting targeted twice at wide receiver by Lewerke but failing to get a reception. He started his career at receiver before switching to corner in 2106.