Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Football Notes: Michigan State not fazed by late-start games

September 19, 2018
Senior wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) celebrates a reception for a two-point conversion during the game against Utah State on Aug. 31 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Aggies, 38-31.
Senior wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) celebrates a reception for a two-point conversion during the game against Utah State on Aug. 31 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Aggies, 38-31. —
Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

As No. 24 Michigan State (1-1) prepares for its Saturday matchup against Indiana (3-0), the team also gets ready for its third straight night game. The Spartans are already catching up to their four night games last season, in which they went 3-1.

Coach Mark Dantonio doesn’t see this as a negative trend, but rather as a feel good memory for his players. 

“I mean, at some points in time, I think it's great to play them because it gives you that feeling as a player that you're back in high school and at night and think you're faster at night,” Dantonio said. “Everybody likes to run as fast as they can.”

Junior quarterback Brian Lewerke agrees with his coach on this trend not being a big problem for the team.

To him, the late games are a small issue, but he knows the afternoon games will soon come back.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” Lewerke said. “You get home a little late, but it’ll to be nice to have a couple of noon games the next couple of weeks.” 

Sophomore wide receiver Cody White feels the week off helped the team bring back the energy they needed after their 16-13 loss to Arizona State in week two.  

“I wouldn’t say it affects it at all,” White said. “It’s just another game for us, just coming out making sure we’re playing our best game.” 

Junior linebacker Joe Bachie disagrees with his fellow teammates regarding night games, and said he isn't a big fan of them. 

“I don’t prefer night games, but it's football,” Bachie said. “We play at 7:30 and then we have a noon game next week. 3:30 is my time, the perfect time.”

Another problem that comes into effect is the late arrival back to campus after playing on the road. Dantonio mentioned that this can often affect some players' academic schedules. 

Dantonio often talks to men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo to compare how his players feel after playing night games several times a week, in addition to attending their classes. 

“You don't like to get home at two in the morning, either, three in the morning, because that takes a toll on you the rest of the week,” Dantonio said. “Last game we got home Sunday at nine in the morning, so that takes a toll on you, not just from a football standpoint but from an academic standpoint, as well.”

The timing of the early-season week off has raised some eyebrows, but Bachie thinks the bye-week came at the perfect time. 

“I think it came at the right week,” Bachie said. “It’s early in the year, so some people might complain about it saying we might need it during week eight or week nine, but I thought it was a good week coming off a loss. We’re coming into the Big Ten now and we prepared very hard these past two weeks and we should be ready to go.” 

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