Spartans' injury picture taking turn for the better
East Lansing — It wouldn’t be a typical week around the Michigan State program without an update on the injuries.
And while Michigan State suffered a few more in Saturday’s 23-13 victory over Purdue at Spartan Stadium, all the news isn’t bad.
Where that leaves sophomore tackle Jordan Reid is unclear. Of the players who went down with injuries on Saturday, Reid was the only one that didn’t return to the game after getting knocked out in the fourth quarter. He has started all eight games at right tackle and his injury now leaves junior Tyler Higby — who has started at center, left tackle and left guard — as the only regular starter on the offensive line who hasn’t been injured.
There were other injuries on Saturday, though none appeared significant.
Sophomore Luke Campbell, who started at right guard, missed a few first-half snaps while junior wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. had the wind knocked out of him in the second half. Other second-half injuries included junior linebacker Joe Bachie (elbow) and junior cornerback Justin Layne (leg) but both returned. Sophomore receiver Cam Chambers continued to play with a bad thumb but coach Mark Dantonio said he expects Chambers to lose the protective cast by next week.
The better news came from who was back and who might be back soon. Freshman receiver Jalen Nailor was back after missing the last four games and immediately made an impact, scoring on a 48-yard catch and run and finishing with 70 yards receiving and 24 yards rushing.
“Nailor, obviously, had some big moments,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said.
The Spartans (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) should soon have two key playmakers back, as well. Both sophomore wide receiver Cody White and sophomore cornerback Josiah Scott were dressed but did not play.
Dantonio said White, who has been out with a broken hand since the Central Michigan game, should be back next week and Scott, who hasn’t played all season after hurting his knee in preseason camp, is clear to play now after serving his one-half suspension for a targeting call in last season’s Holiday Bowl.
Junior cornerback Josh Butler (undisclosed), sophomore guard Kevin Jarvis (ankle) and fifth-year senior guard David Beedle (arm) all sat out. Michigan State was also on to its third punter — walk-on Bryce Baringer — after redshirt freshman Tyler Hunt hurt his knee during the week.
“We lost our punter, Tyler Hunt, on Thursday in a non-contact deal,” Dantonio said. “Blew out his ACL, so he's done for the season. I don't think I've ever been on a team that's lost one punter, let alone two. Bryce Baringer punted, did a nice job, he was ready to punt.”
Brothers on the block
With Michigan State leading by three with less than 4 minutes to play, junior defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk made one of the biggest plays of the game as he blocked Spencer Evans’ 41-yard attempt to preserve the Spartans’ lead.
Panasiuk was lined up next to his brother, defensive end Jacub.
“It was awesome,” Mike Panasiuk said. “I told my brother, 'Scooch down a little bit and let's take this kid for a ride.' We pushed him back a little bit, got my big paw up there and was able to block it.”
Several players had their best games and career firsts on Saturday.
Fifth-year senior Brandon Sowards had a career-best six receptions against the Boilermakers. He started and finished with 48 receiving yards. It was also a career-day for sophomore tight end Matt Dotson, who had four catches, two better than his previous high. His 48 receiving yards were also a career high.
… Junior cornerback Justin Layne got his first career catch, an 11-yarder. He was targeted four times and just missed two deep throws from Rocky Lombardi.
… Sophomore kicker Matt Coghlin's consecutive made field goals streak ended at 18.
He had two first-half field goals to reach 18 and then had a 37-yarder blocked in the third quarter. He added a 34-yarder later in the third quarter. Coghlin is now 11-for-12 for the season.