Joe Southwick #16 of the Boise State Broncos . (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen delivered some good news to QB Joe Southwick Sunday: he is going to be the starting quarterback for the Boise State football team. Southwick also got some bad news with it as well: his first career start will be against #13th ranked Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. Southwick, 6-1, 187 lbs, has been the backup behind record-setting QB Kellen Moore for the past two seasons where he went 40 of 54 and put up 400 yards, two TD’s and only one interception. One of those passes was good for 78 yards.
Michigan State's sixth-year coach Mark Dantonio is replacing his own outstanding quarterback, Kirk Cousins, with fourth-year junior Andrew Maxwell. Dantonio’s Spartans also return an experienced offensive line. The one area of weakness and where the Spartans might be vulnerable could be at receiver. Unlike the Broncos who returned a lot of talent at both receiver and tight end, the Spartans didn’t. One Spartan receiver you can expect to see a lot of Friday night and who got a lot of attention in the spring was redshirt freshman Andre Sims Jr., 5-9, 180 lbs. He is rumored to have sure hands and a certain toughness on the field. But he is the lone standout so far in a field crowded with a new crop of wide receivers. As many as 10-12 players could be in the mix.
That is why the Broncos can expect the Spartans to rely heavily on their running game. They are much stronger with their backfield. One runner they will be throwing at the Boise State defenders is junior RB Le'Veon Bell, who is rumored to be poised for a breakout season. He could see the beginning of that season this Friday night if the Broncos are not on top of their game. You have to know that coach Dantonio and company is aware the Broncos have only two starters on defense from last year and the Boise squad will be loaded down with nine new starters who will be trying to cope with the Michigan State offense. But that is not where Michigan State has the clear edge. It is their dominating defense. Ranked 6th in the nation it is led by DE William Gholston. Last year the Spartan defense chopped up opposing offensive lines and racked up a Big Ten-best 45 sacks. This year Michigan State has nine of those returning starters back on that monstrous defensive squad so the Boise State offense better be bringing their A-game to the slug-fest.