New York – As Michigan State went through its final walk-through at Yankee Stadium on Thursday in preparation for its matchup with Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl, there was one player who was moving around the field as well as he has in weeks.
Fifth-year senior wide receiver Darrell Stewart had fun with a group of kids as part of a youth clinic before the Spartans held their walk-through, and there’s a chance that won’t be the last time Stewart gets on the field.
“Darrell Stewart might make the bell,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “He’s practiced and we’ll see how he is at game time. He has practiced. He is functional, but it's just how much has he practiced.
“Darrell Stewart wants to play football, there's no question about that. It’ll be a game-time decision. He was able to practice and get in pads this last week, so we’re gonna play the best, the guy that gives you the best chance to win at that position.”
Stewart missed the final four games of the regular season after injuring his foot in the loss to Penn State on Oct. 26. In just eight games, Stewart still managed to finish second on the team with 47 receptions for 694 yards and four touchdowns. He’s three receptions shy of matching his career-high of 50, which he had in 2017.
In Stewart’s absence, freshmen Tre Mosley and Julian Barnett have seen expanded roles and have made the most of their opportunities. In five games, Mosley had 17 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown while Barnett has 13 catches for 182 yards in 12 games.
“We’ve had a lot of young players play over the course (of the season),” Dantonio said. “As a result of that they've gotten better, so we feel pretty good about our wide receiver position.”
One player who will not make is return on Friday is offensive lineman Kevin Jarvis.
“Kevin Jarvis won't play,” Dantonio said. “He hasn’t played really since his injury.”
The junior started 22 games at right guard the last two seasons before moving out to left tackle to begin 2019. He suffered a leg injury in the third week against Arizona State, after which, Dantonio said he did not expect the injury to be a season-ender.
Instead, that’s exactly what it turned out to be as the Spartans have used four different starters at left tackle.
Redshirt for Dobbs
Dantonio said he did not plan on playing freshman Devontae Dobbs on Friday in order to keep the redshirt this season for the highly recruited left tackle.
“We're going to try and hold on him but we'll see how it all shakes out in the game,” Dantonio said. “He's practicing and ready to play should he need to play, but I think we'll be OK.”
Dobbs has played in four games and started against Rutgers. Dobbs is one of three freshmen offensive lineman who have started this year, joining left guard J.D. Duplain and center Nick Samac. Both Duplain and Samac should play on Friday.
No 'set plan' for QBs
Dantonio said all four of the Spartans’ quarterbacks have gotten extensive work, but when it comes to the game on Friday there is no definitive plan beyond the fact fifth-year senior Brian Lewerke will start.
“We don't have a set plan,” he said. “We’re going to go as we go. We’re going to go out there to win the football game. We've given our quarterbacks -- all four of them really -- a lot of time.
“From a quarterback situation we're going to play to win, so whatever quarterback gives us the best chance to do that, to move forward, that’s what we'll do.”
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
MICHIGAN STATE VS. WAKE FOREST
Kickoff: 3:20 p.m. Friday, Yankee Stadium, New York
TV/radio: ESPN/760 AM
Records: Michigan State 6-6, Wake Forest 8-4
Line: Michigan State by 3.5