MSU Bye Week Came at the Right Time

Mark Dantonio leads the Spartans out vs. Notre Dame in 2016.  Photo courtesy of Tom Ackerson.
Mark Dantonio leads the Spartans out vs. Notre Dame in 2016. Photo courtesy of Tom Ackerson.

While #24 Michigan State is just two games into the 2018 season, the bye week came at just the right time for the Spartans as they suffered a handful of injuries (mostly minor) in last Saturday’s loss to Arizona State.

The Spartans lost both starting running back L.J. Scott, starting left guard David Beedle and punter Jake Hartbarger due to injury and starting left tackle Cole Chewins, who missed the season opener against Utah State, played one play before leaving the game and did not return. Michigan State was also without defensive end Jacub Panasiuk, who suffered an injury in week one, as well as defensive end Dillon Alexander and cornerback Josiah Scott, who have yet to play this season.

Michigan State head Coach Mark Dantonio said that the bye week came at a convenient time for his team for a number of reasons, including the fact that it will allows his team to readjust to the time change from being out west.

“You know, you always sort of take it as it comes,” he said. “I think really the biggest thing on the trip was the time change and takes it out of you a little bit, especially coming back. We got back about 8:45 I think in the morning Sunday morning.

“I think we were very well represented out there. Want to thank all the Spartans for coming out to Arizona State, West Coast and Arizona and people from back here. We had a tremendous showing, somewhere between 15 and 20,000, and all the people that stayed up till 2:40 (ET) to watch. It was a late game,” Dantonio added. “We had to flip our physical clock. We had to wear compression tights, a four-hour plane flight, hydrate 24 to 30 hours, and I was pushing water like you can't believe and Gatorade. Then, you know, the weather, it was 104 temperature at game time. You know, there's a lot of things that we needed to control. I thought we did that. I thought we had energy on the field. I thought we came to play. I've always said at the end of it all if our guys play hard and play confident and play with each other and play confident, don't point fingers and play hard, you know, whatever happens, I'll handle it and so that's what we'll do. I'll handle it.”

Scott exited the game in the third quarter after sustaining what appeared to be a leg injury in the third quarter, while Beedle left during the fourth quarter after an apparent knee injury.

With the injuries that Scott and Beedle suffered in Saturday’s loss, Dantonio said that he does not see either needing to miss an extended period of time.

“I don't think that -- I do not think that those are long-term issues with Beedle or anyone else,” he said. “I don't anticipate them to be long-term issues.”

But for Hartbarger, the prognosis is considerably worse after he took a helmet to the shin during a punt attempt during Saturday’s 16-13 loss to the Sun Devils.

Dantonio said that the injury will hold Hartbarger out for an extended period of time and does not expect him back until late in the season and added that backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi is expected to take over the punting duties, but did not rule out that reserve placekicker Tyler Hunt could also step in at punter as well.

“I've always said if a guy is out for a while, I'm going to talk about him,” he said. “So Jake is out for six to eight weeks. He's got a bone bruise or maybe a slight fracture in there. We're going to miss him. Rocky Lombardi will be the punter, maybe Tyler Hunt. But we'll go on. Rocky is a great athlete and he's punted before. He was our backup punter.”

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