One of Michigan State’s top offensive players from the past two seasons is heading to the NFL. Wide receiver Cody White declared for the NFL draft and will forgo his senior season in East Lansing. White announced his plans in a statement on his Twitter account on Friday.
“East Lansing will always have a special place in my heart,” White said in his statement. “With that being said, after a tough decision, I have decided to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. I will be forgoing my senior season and will enter the 020 NFL Draft.”
White is coming off a 2019 season that saw him lead the Spartans with 922 yards and six touchdowns. He scored the eventual game-winning touchdown in Michigan State’s Pinstripe Bowl victory over Wake Forest. White also was Michigan State’s leading receiver in 2018 with 555 yards and his two touchdowns were second-most on the team while appearing in just nine games.
White enters a draft pool that is pretty deep with talent this year. NFL teams looking for wide receivers will have plenty of options available to them. Having some NFL family history is never a bad thing either. White’s father, Sheldon White, played six years in the NFL with the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals. He later went on to be the Vice President of Pro Personnel with the Lions and was an interim general manager before leaving to join the Michigan State program in 2016 as an executive director of player personnel and recruiting when his son
Previously, Michigan State cornerback Josiah Scott declared for the NFL Draft as a significant amount of roster turnover continues for Michigan State through graduating players, the NFL draft and the transfer portal.
Brian Lewerke passed for 320 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 46 yards and another touchdown to help Michigan State (7-6) to a 27-21 victory in the Pinstripe Bowl against Wake Forest (8-5).
Wake Forest got a worthy effort from their quarterback, Jamie Newman, with three touchdown passes and a team-high 93 rushing yards, but the Michigan State defense managed to flex the muscle they needed in the fourth quarter to slam the door shut. After a back-and-forth first half, Michigan State outscored Wake Forest 7-0 in the second half. Lewerke’s 10-yard pass to Cody White in the third quarter gave Michigan State the 27-21 lead, and it proved to be the eventual game-winner.
The Spartans blew three opportunities to create a two-score game in the second half though with a pair of turnovers deep in Wake Forest territory and a missed field goal from just 28 yards out. But given how the season has gone, why should anything have been any easier than it had to be?
The win by Michigan State clinched a winning season for the 11th time in 13 seasons under head coach Mark Dantonio. Dantonio is now 7-5 all-time in bowl games, including a record of 6-5 with the Spartans (1-0 at Cincinnati). Regardless, Dantonio and his future will continue to be a bit of a storyline for the Spartans heading into the 2020 season considering some of the off-the-field storylines floating around East Lansing paired with back-to-back subpar seasons with identical 7-6 seasons while lagging behind the top competition in the Big Ten East Division.
The Big Ten has now won five of the six Pinstripe Bowls it has been associated with, including a fourth straight win with Michigan State’s victory. All games have been played against the ACC, which is also tied to the Pinstripe Bowl. Rutgers has also won a Pinstripe Bowl in 2011, but that was as a member of the American Athletic Conference (Rutgers is 1-1 in the Pinstripe owl as a member of the AAC).
Wake Forest kicks off the 2020 season on the road at Old Dominion on Sept. 5, 2020. The Demon Deacons open their home schedule the following Friday night (Sept. 11) with a game against defending Sun Belt champion Appalachian State. Wake Forest will also take on Notre Dame in non-conference play with a game in Charlotte before jumping into ACC play in October.
Michigan State’s 2020 season will begin with a Big Ten opener. The Spartans host Northwestern to open the 2020 season on Sept. 5, 2020. Michigan State will also play at BYU and host the Miami Hurricanes in non-conference play next fall. Michigan State gets back-to-back home games against Michigan and Ohio State in October and a bye week before a road game at Penn State in November.
After falling behind in the first quarter, the Michigan Wolverines took charge against Michigan State in the second quarter with a 17-point outburst. A touchdown pass from Shea Patterson to Nick Eubanks gave the Wolverines their first lead of the day and a late field goal by Quinn Nordin has given Michigan a 17-7 lead on their rivals from East Lansing at halftime in Michigan Stadium.
Michigan State scored first with a short pass at the goal line from Brian Lewerke to Max Rosenthal. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Wolverines responded with their first scoring drive of the afternoon. Hassan Haskins evened the game with a short touchdown run form the goal line on a drive that saw Patterson complete all four of his pass attempts to move the ball down the field. A personal foul penalty on the Spartans gave Michigan a free 15 yards along the way.
Silly penalties hurt Michigan State on their next drive as well. After a Lewerrke pass was complete to Cody White for a gain of 20 yards to the Michigan 37-yard line, the ball moved back to the Michigan State 48-yard line due to two unsportsmanlike penalties on White and Luke Campbell. The Spartans would later punt from the Michigan 49-yard line to end the drive.
Michigan’s defense seems to have control of this one going to the second half, and Michigan State’s offense may not have enough to make a game of this in the final 30 minutes. But we’ll see what goes down next!
Mark Dantonio’s face seems to naturally look unhappy but it’s safe to say he really was feeling that way when he watched Michigan State give up an opening 75 yard touchdown drive and fail to muster much energy at all on offense in the first few minutes of the season. Luckily his team rallied to grab a few momentum-building plays in the second quarter in order to take a 20-14 lead into the locker room at halftime against a pesky Utah State squad at Spartan Stadium.
Aggies signal-caller Jordan Love certainly came to play on the big stage and seemed to catch the home team’s defense by surprise by using a nice mix of tempo and precision passing over the middle of the field. Evoking a few shades of Chucky Keaton from back in the day for USU given his calm demeanor in a hostile environment, Love finished the first half 14-of-21 for 181 yards and an interception. He was also able to escape pressure with his legs and added another 10 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well.
It was not quite the same performance out of opposite number Brian Lewerke, who many think could turn into one of (if not the) best QB’s in the Big Ten. His numbers seemed good (190 yards, two TDs) but the junior wasn’t quite as crisp with his passing as expected and he also fumbled in a rather bizarre way to avoid a sack. Tailback LJ Scott shouldered most of the load and looked like a workhorse runner in the first half with 12 carries for 36 yards. The senior also contributed in the passing game with some good blocks and two receptions for over 50 yards.
While the Spartans offense did not quite find a rhythm, they did feed off their defense in the second quarter to get a little momentum going. Khari Willis pulled down an interception to turn the momentum defensively midway through the quarter and then Scott promptly pulled in a screen pass and took it to the door step of the goal line on the very next offensive play. Lewerke eventually found Cody White over the middle for the touchdown and that score seemed to give the crowd a bit of a sigh of relief.
Utah State answered right back with a 72 yard drive as the teams traded scores though in a rather back-and-forth second frame that featured three lead changes. The Aggies were in a similar position last season when they hung around with Wisconsin on the road for a half but eventually were blown out after the break.
Could that happen again in East Lansing? The Spartans certainly hope so but it’s pretty clear they’ll need to clear up quite a bit at halftime if that’s to be the case or else we could be in store for our first major upset of the season given the way both sides are playing in this one.
After winning just three games in 2016, Michigan State spent last winter at home dreaming of warmer climates. Thanks to an incredible turnaround during the regular season in 2017, the No. 16 Spartans spent this winter enjoying the warmer climates of San Diego as they thumped No. 18 Washington State 42-17 in the Holiday Bowl.
And things didn’t even seem anywhere as close as that final margin would indicate.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke played a big role in the reason why the game was largely uncompetitive with a performance that could earn him a place on more than a few Heisman Dark Horse lists for 2018. The sophomore had one of the best outings of the season under center and was one point with his passing on nearly every dropback in throwing for 213 yards and three touchdowns. While he may not look like a noted dual-threat at first glance, he also paced the team with his legs for most of the night and wound up with 73 yards rushing.
Tailback L.J. Scott chipped in with 110 on the ground and scored two rushing touchdowns, while Felton Davis (118 yards, one score) and Cody White (two TD’s) helped pace the skill position players in terms of effectiveness.
Though the Cougars did get the offense clicking later in the game, they were behind the chains from the opening kickoff with sophomore Tyler Hilinski making his first career start behind center. Record-setting quarterback Luke Falk was one the sidelines in street clothes for the game but couldn’t make it back in time from a wrist injury he suffered in the Apple Cup.
Hilinski did make several nice throws down the field over the course of the game but was mostly forced to dink-and-dunk all night on his way to 272 yards, an interception and a pair of touchdowns. Several three-and-outs early put his defense in a bind however and a fumble in the third quarter that was converted into another touchdown seemed to be the back-breaker. The loss puts a damper on what was still an overall successful year for the Cougs but adds to the questions about the program going forward with a number of key players gone for 2018 and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch reportedly headed to Ohio State in January.
The same could not be said of the Spartans, which capped a seven-win turnaround this year and have plenty of momentum (and returning starters) as they return to East Lansing for the new year. While we tend to over-inflate bowl victories when it comes to the preseason outlook on some teams, the way that MSU has trended this year bodes well for them in what should be a rough and tumble Big Ten in 2018 that will likely have Mark Dantonio‘s squad right back in the thick of the title race again.