Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Spartans look to end season strong against Penn State

November 20, 2002
Junior wide receiver Charles Rogers catches a pass for a touchdown while Purdue cornerback Antwaun Rogers tries to defend Nov. 16 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans play No. 15 Penn State on Saturday afternoon. MSU dropped its final home game to the Boilermakers 45-42. —

Although the MSU football team had a familiar result when it lost to Purdue 45-42 at Spartan Stadium, interim head coach Morris Watts said there was a difference in the way the team played.

"One of the things I felt very good about was how hard our young men competed through the four quarters," he said. "They kept coming back and giving themselves a chance to win the football game.

"I don't think there's any question that we had a lot of young men play - effortwise - probably one of their top games of the year."

The Spartans (4-7 overall, 2-5 Big Ten) finished 3-5 at home this season and will end the season on the road against Penn State (8-3, 4-3) on Saturday.

Spartan honors

For their performances against Purdue on Saturday, junior wide receiver Charles Rogers and junior offensive tackle Steve Stewart were the offensive players of the week. It is the second time in as many weeks the two Spartans have shared the honor.

Watts said there were other offensive linemen that played well. However, Stewart stood out.

"Steve Stewart played the best game he's played this year," Watts said. "The type of game he needs to play, not only again this Saturday, but in the future to help this program get headed in the right direction."

Rogers, who shared the honor with sophomore quarterback Damon Dowdell last week, caught eight passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior strong safety Thomas Wright was recognized as the top defensive performer. He had six tackles and an interception, which was returned 57 yards for a touchdown.

"This speaks volumes of how Thomas has played, especially the last six weeks," Watts said. "Thomas Wright has had a really outstanding year. He has played the way that you need to play to be competitive week after week, and especially, give yourself a chance to win at this level of play."

You make the call

Senior cornerback DeMario Suggs and Wright agreed that reaching the end zone for the first time on senior day felt good. But they did disagree on one thing. When asked to compare the touchdowns Suggs said, "Mine was faster."

Wright rebutted, "He almost got ran down by the quarterback. I had me a lead blocker."

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