Pair of freshmen wideouts emerge in crucial moments of MSU's win
Cody White’s day started innocent enough in MSU's win over Indiana.
His first touch came when he caught a punt. Then a three-yard rush for a first down. Then a 15-yard reception later in the opening quarter for another first down.
He started to gain some momentum again in the third quarter, hauling in three catches.
And then finally, in the fourth — arguably the biggest play of the game.
With the Spartans looking to bleed clock, nursing a 10-9 lead, they faced a third-and-9. One snap and one play later, White caught quarterback Brian Lewerke’s pass and ran with it. By the end of his completion, 34 yards later, MSU was all the way down at Indiana’s 18-yard line.
White, one of the Spartans’ many young wide receivers, had the game of his life, coming in with just five catches for 50 yards before the game. So instead, he exploded for six receptions for 99 receiving yards.
“I feel like our confidence was rising and rising throughout this year,” White said. “Throughout the game as well. I feel like it was just due.”
Not to be outdone, fellow true freshman Hunter Rison didn’t have the stats, but he was involved in one of the game’s crucial moments. The Spartans were going for it on a fourth-and-3, down 9-3 at the time.
Rison caught the ball, reached, and picked up four yards for the first down. There wasn’t too much going through his mind as he caught the ball, the wideout said, just to catch it and run upfield.
“They played phenomenal, they stepped up when they needed to,” Lewerke said. “My accuracy on the ball wasn’t the greatest but they did a great job of snagging the catches.”
Rison only had two receptions for 13 yards, but he made both of them count. Along with the fourth down grab, his other catch moved the chains for a first down.
“You live for moments like this,” Rison said. “You prepare for moments like this.”
On the day, the offense was mostly lethargic; execution errors and sloppiness led to just three total points in the opening three quarters. The wideouts’ contributions were a relative bright spot as the Spartans scored two touchdowns in the final 15 minutes to win it.
Junior Felton Davis III had a big 16-yard rush on some MSU trickery. Then he finished the first touchdown drive off with a 10-yard reception, standing there largely by himself in the end zone.
This wide receiving core is young, one that largely depends on veterans like Davis and Darrell Stewart Jr. But even then, Stewart’s technically an underclassman as a redshirt sophomore.
It’s an area that has the Spartans excited. After performances like Indiana, Rison said it’s only just the beginning.
“We have like one senior starting on this team I think,” Rison said. “Just to see us all grow and develop it’s going to be very fun.”