Michigan State will enter the season with a new starting quarterback.
Head coach Mel Tucker won’t say who will get the nod, however. The Spartans, coming off a disappointing 5-7 season, will host Central Michigan in their opener on Friday night in East Lansing, Mich.
Payton Thorne, who started at quarterback the past two seasons, has transferred to Auburn. A number of Michigan State’s playmakers also entered the transfer portal.
Thorne’s replacement will either be redshirt junior Noah Kim, Thorne’s backup last season, or redshirt freshman Katin Houser.
“We’ll see who runs out there first on Friday night and we’ll go from there,” Tucker said.
Michigan State also needs to replace Jayden Reed and Keon Coleman, who combined for 113 catches, 1,434 yards and 12 touchdowns. Tre Mosley and Montorie Foster are the leading candidates to take their spots.
The Spartans do have a returning starter at running back in Jalen Berger, but he’s being pushed by UConn transfer Nathan Carter and others.
“We’d like to play three guys, maybe four if we can, and keep those guys fresh,” Tucker said. “That’s a tough position to take a lot of hits and it’s really physical, so we need as many guys as we can to be prepared to go in there and play winning football. We’ll see who shows up and who gets carries, the touches and the targets.”
The Chippewas finished 4-8 last season.
“We need to do better than we did a year ago, and we’re going to do that,” Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain said. “I’m really excited about our team. I’m excited about the guys that went through what we went through a year ago and are ready to not let that happen again.”
The Chippewas also have questions at quarterback. Redshirt sophomore Jase Bauer and redshirt freshman Bert Emanuel, Jr. are the top competitors.
“We’re competing for the job, but at the end of the day, like that’s my brother,” Emanuel said. “They win the job, I’m (going to) support them.”
The two schools haven’t met since 2018, when the Spartans pulled out a 31-20 victory. Michigan State leads the all-time series 8-3.
–Field Level Media