Following a week one victory against Central Michigan, Michigan State Football will look to improve to 2-0 on the season as they host Richmond on Saturday afternoon.
Michigan State’s defense made a statement against CMU during last Friday's game. Chippewa Starting redshirt freshman quarterback Bert Emmanuel Jr. only threw for 87 passing yards and logged an interception. What gave the Spartans trouble early in the game however, was the rushing threat outside of the pocket.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Kyle Wickersham has taken the reins lining up under center for Richmond thus far. In a week one loss to Morgan state, Wickersham completed 23 passes on 30 attempts for 169 yards and an interception. On the ground, Wickersham also attempted to rush a staggering 21 times, gaining 39 total yards in the game.
Wickersham’s style of play is similar to Emmanuel Jr.'s in relation to not being afraid to step outside the pocket to rush if the initial reads aren’t available. Head Coach Mel Tucker knows how important it is to contain the dual threat style quarterback as his defense will be tested once again.
“Quarterbacks that are mobile, you have to do a really good job with your rush,” Tucker said. "You have to be coordinated. You have to make sure that you have edges that keep him in the pocket. If he does get out, you have to be able to set and contain. You have to scramble rules in the back end.”
The upcoming matchup will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Richmond, an FCS program, began the season ranked number 16 in the 2023 Preseason FCS Coaches’ Poll prior to their opening week loss. MSU is 7-0 in program history against FCS opponents.
On the offensive side of the ball, Michigan State will look to set the tone early as they came out sluggish in the first half against Central. A big help that finally ignited progress downfield was the running game. Transfer redshirt sophomore running back Nathan Carter rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown in the opener, including splitting the defense for a 31 yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. The Spartans will need more of the same production from the backfield if they want to pull away.
Redshirt junior quarterback Noah Kim found his rhythm against CMU, finishing the game with 279 yards and two touchdowns. Kim made multiple throws downfield that began to spark the offense as a whole, especially in the second half. Facing a Richmond defense that allowed only 17 points in the FCS, Kim has seen action on tape that he needs to be aware of.
“They play hard,” Kim said. “They have some good returning guys, you know, in the secondary and at linebacker. They’re a team that’s well coached and so I’m expecting them to come and play hard.”
The Spartans will look to win their second game of the season to start 2-0 for the third season in a row, as Richmond looks to get back on track with a big road test. Michigan State will have to prove that they are ready to face one of the more elite teams in the FCS as they are favored heavily in the matchup.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.