Illinois Football: Previewing Michigan State’s Offense

Following their 56-32 loss to Wisconsin last weekend, the Illinois Fighting Illini will host the Michigan State Spartans this week for their Homecoming. This will be a very important game for the Illini due to the fact that they would hate to start off 0-3 in conference play.

Coming into this weekend’s match-up with the Fighting Illini, the Spartans have won three straight conference games. However, the MSU offense was only able to put up 14 points in the team’s last victory over Purdue.

Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After much confusion about who would be the Spartans’ starting quarterback this season, it seems like they have found their answer in sophomore quarterback Connor Cook.

It was in the team’s 55-17 win over Youngstown State where Cook proved to be the Spartans’ answer at the quarterback position after throwing for 202 yards and four touchdowns.

So far this season, Cook has completed around 57% of his passes for 1,030 yards and has throw nine touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

Last week against Purdue, he completed 13 passes for 107 yards, but threw no touchdowns.

As for Cook’s receiving targets, there are five receivers on Michigan State that have double-digit receptions this season.

Although, Cook’s two favorite targets seem to be sophomore Macgarrett Kings Jr. and junior Tony Lippett.

Kings Jr. has the most receptions on the team with 25 through seven games and has racked up 287 yards and three touchdowns. Since Cook took over as MSU’s starter, Kings Jr. has been averaging at least five receptions per contest before only catching two against Purdue.

On the other hand, Lippett caught five passes for 49 yards in the 14-0 win over Purdue. Before that, he caught six passes for 64 yards in a victory over Indiana.

When it comes to Michigan State’s running attack, they are lead by junior Jeremy Langford. He leads the team with 551 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He also has caught 11 passes for 52 yards and one touchdown.

In the victory of Purdue, Langford ran for 131 yards on 24 carries, but did not get into the endzone.

This will be the definition of a “must win” game for the Fighting Illini and not just because it’s Homecoming.

Last week against Wisconsin, the Illinois defense got dominated by Wisconsin and needs to show their fans that they are better than how they played last weekend. The biggest key for the defense will be to get pressure on Connor Cook.

If they can make his life hectic, then they will be able to give their offense a shot to win the game.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Topics: Connor Cook, Football, Illinois Fighting Illini, Jeremy Langford, Macgarrett Kings Jr., Michigan State Spartans, Tony Lippett

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