Payton Thorne was able to get some of his mojo back despite it being in a losing effort against Washington in Week 3.
I might get grilled for saying this, but some good did come from Michigan State’s loss to Washington last Saturday.
What could that have possibly been?
Well, Payton Thorne got his mojo back.
The junior quarterback had struggled through the first two weeks of the season and fans were starting to worry whether he had regressed or was just in a slump. He was missing his targets high and throwing off his back foot way too much. It seemed like he and anyone not named Jayden Reed or Tre Mosley were not on the same page; they weren’t even in the same book.
But on Saturday, he looked like the old Payton Thorne again.
We got the old version of the talented quarterback back. Sure, Michigan State lost as the defense wasn’t able to stop Michael Penix Jr. but Thorne looked great.
Playing behind an offensive line that felt like it wasn’t blocking anyone, Thorne was left running for his life all night long. On top of that, he was missing his favorite target in Jayden Reed who didn’t travel to Seattle due to an injury. The odds were stacked against Thorne to get back on track versus Washington.
It didn’t matter.
In his toughest test since 2021, Thorne went out, slung the ball around to a few different targets, got back on the same page with Keon Coleman, and had his most accurate game of the year. When halftime rolled around, he had just one (!!) incompletion. So all of the “he’s just not accurate” fans were awfully quiet. He was making throws that we haven’t seen from him all year and he was extending plays with his legs.
Thorne got his mojo back.
He finished the game 30-for-42 with 323 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, but Jay Johnson is right, he played his butt off. And all of his interceptions this year have been him trying to do too much. Just look at the pick he threw against Washington. He was flushed from the pocket in his own end zone immediately and was forced to try and make a play but he just couldn’t connect with Germie Bernard on the sideline in a tight window.
Predictably, there were fans who knocked Thorne’s performance (not sure how) and said that changes needed to happen at quarterback. That’s not even close to the case.
If anything, Thorne proved why he is the team’s QB1. He was impressive all night long even when his defense decided to remain in East Lansing with Reed.
Thorne getting his mojo back was priority No. 1 of getting Michigan State into contender mode. Now the top priority is fixing that defense followed by repairing the offensive line, making necessary personnel changes, and getting healthy.
Michigan State is far from perfect, but at least it got its QB1 back.