Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke’s confidence grows with each scramble

michigan state brian lewerke

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Brian Lewerke doesn’t understand why recruiting services listed him as either a “pro-style quarterback” or a “pocket passer.”

It’s not like the Michigan State sophomore didn’t prove his running ability in high school. As a Pinnacle (Phoenix) High senior, he carried 117 times for 957 yards and 10 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. He reached 100 yards in five of 11 games.

“I would classify myself as a dual-threat,” Lewerke said Tuesday. “Obviously, I’m not the fastest top-end speed guy. I look like I’m running slow when I run, too. That’s one thing I’ve noticed; people told me. That kind of sucks. But I do my best just to try to get into open space and get as many yards as I can.”

You don’t have to look fast to scramble. Sometimes you don’t have to be fast. Seeing openings before anyone else and having the agility to make defenders miss can be enough.

Whether it’s speed, quickness or vision, or all of the above, Lewerke found a way to lead Michigan State with 69 rushing yards in its 35-10 win over Bowling Green last Saturday. That’s the most for a Spartans quarterback since … Brian Lewerke ran for 79 yards against Maryland in 2016.

The last Spartans quarterback to run for more? You’d have to go all the way back to Drew Stanton in 2006, who had 83 yards on the ground against Purdue. Michigan State hasn’t had a quarterback with Lewerke’s legs in coach Mark Dantonio’s tenure.

“Playing in practice and scrimmages, you kind of forget how good he is at running because no one tackles the quarterback in practice,” right tackle Luke Campbell said. “Then I see him turn around and see him run 20 yards. It was pretty awesome because he had a couple good scrambles that game.”

Lewerke’s confidence seemed to grow with each run. With a flip to Madre London and a shovel to Trishton Jackson — both of which likely made his coaches wince — he used his mobility to make creative plays for teammates. That, in turn, opened up the passing game.

What began with a fumbled snap recovered by Bowling Green ended as a 250-yard, 3-touchdown passing performance for Lewerke.

“I think every game Brian Lewerke plays is another step as he transitions to being the starting quarterback leader here,” Dantonio said. “He left a couple out there early in the game, a couple short, a couple high, quite a few right on the money. I think he created.

“I think he can be a dynamic quarterback for us, and the most impressive thing about him is that he was cool under pressure and very calm in terms of how he handled problems, and I think you have to do that as a quarterback.”

It starts with the run. Lewerke, who wanted to be a receiver when he started playing football, now models his game after the Raiders’ Derek Carr. But after one game, he’s a single rushing yard from matching Carr’s total from last season.

Lewerke doesn’t look to run; it’s more of a reaction. The coaches don’t discourage it as long as he gets down to avoid injury. The staff might not like some of the risks he takes, but if they lead to positive yardage what can they be mad about?

“I’m a results-oriented guy,” co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. “The biggest thing is him staying healthy when he does that, sliding or whatever he needs to do. I’m not sure there’s a magic formula to that, but he made plays today and that’s a great thing. We’ll take it.”

The post Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke’s confidence grows with each scramble appeared first on Land of 10.

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