Michigan State Football
Matt Snyder: A Starting Quarterback
The Michigan State football team’s disappointing 2016 season didn’t turn south solely because of poor quarterback play, but the lack of reliable option certainly didn’t help matters at all.
The quarterback position had been one of relative stability for the Spartans for more than a decade. Drew Stanton took over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2004 and handed the reins to Brian Hoyer in 2007 who gave way to Kirk Cousins in 2009. The program had a one-year gap in 2012 when Andrew Maxwell took most of the snaps, but Connor Cook was on the roster at the time and he took over as a sophomore in 2013.
Cook, Cousins, Hoyer, and Stanton are all currently on NFL rosters. That’s a heck of a stretch — 11 seasons in 12 years — in which the program had to pay very little mind to the most important position on the field.
2016 was a struggle at the quarterback position, however. Tyler O’Connor, appearing in 11 of 12 games, got most of the snaps with redshirt freshman Drian Lewerke and junior Damion Terry each seeing some action as well. None of the three quarterbacks managed to complete 60% of their passes individually, and they combined to average fewer than 180 yards passing with 1.6 touchdowns and 0.9 interceptions per game through the air.
Lewerke will likely enter 2017 as the presumptive starter, but there’s no indication that he’ll be the long-term answer for the green and white. For Michigan State to be successful next year, they’ll need to either have Lewerke step up and take charge or find someone to beat him out. It’s not clear who that might be.
It wasn’t immediately clear that players such as Cousins and Cook would blossom into bona fide NFL prospects when they took over. Spartans fans will hope and pray that Lewerke can similarly mold himself into a rock solid quarterback.