Brian Lewerke has career day but still shows symptoms of youth
Evanston, Ill. — As the Spartans fell to the Northwestern Wildcats, 39-31, three wide receivers stood out as reasons MSU was able to stay in this game.
Felton Davis III also contributed eight receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns, including one to send the Spartans into overtime late in the fourth quarter.
“I had a feeling Brian was gonna look at me because I was to the boundary by myself,” Davis III said. “He threw the ball high, where I would want him to put it — with me being 6-foot-4 — that’s where he put the ball and that’s when I went up and made the play.”
But at the epicenter to make all three have successful games, was quarterback Brian Lewerke.
Lewerke also had a career day, throwing 57 attempts, completing 39 of them for 445 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, and improved his play in the fourth quarter and on, to where it was in the first quarter.
“They were giving us the outside flat routes, we’d get 10 yards easy every time so I kept hitting it until they stopped it,” Lewerke said.
Davis III said the goal is always to get the quarterback going early and in case, and in this case, to get Lewerke’s “confidence level high.”
“When that’s happening, then you know the offense is potent,” Davis III said.
Head coach Mark Dantonio said Lewerke played outstanding.
“He made plays with his feet today as well, he’s a gamer and all I’ve to gotta say is he doesn’t get too up or too down, he’s very confident on the field,” Dantonio said. “He makes plays.”
Even with having a career day, Lewerke still made mistakes, most noticeably the final play of the game in triple overtime when Lewerke fumbled, picked it up and forced a throw to tight end Matt Sokol on second down. The result of this play was an interception and sealed the Spartans loss to the Wildcats.
“He should’ve thrown that one away,” Dantonio said.
And Lewerke knew he should’ve thrown it away.
“I probably regret making that throw,” Lewerke said. “That’s a throw that I can make, but obviously one you don’t want to do.”
The final play could have been prevented from numerous things, with one of them being Lewerke missing several deep passes, including back-to-back deep balls to White and Stewart Jr. in the second quarter, with both of them having green pastures in front of them.
“That’s probably the game right there,” Lewerke said. “Obviously need to hit those plays and if you do, you don’t go into overtime.”
Lewerke said he thought he did well on the first drive of the game, which included a 60-yard bomb to White and ended in a six-yard touchdown also to White.
“For some reason it’s harder for me to the wide open ones, than to hit the covered ones I guess,” Lewerke said.
Davis III said the offense also “left a lot of plays out there on the field” and wishes the team could have those missed deep passes in the second and third quarters back, to keep the offense’s “confidence high.”
“It’s what we don’t want to do as an offense,” Davis III said. “We just get back to practice and get better at those deep balls and we can put them on the money or we can keep wide receivers up in understanding, and score those points.”
MSU will look to bounce back against No. 2 Penn State next Saturday in Spartan Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon and will be televised on FOX.