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Breaking down Michigan State football QB battle: Noah Kim edition

Will 2023 be Noah Kim’s time to shine?



Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State football Twitter is divided. There is a fight for the top quarterback spot between Noah Kim and Katin Houser.

Immediately after last year’s loss to Indiana, the quarterback position for Michigan State football was up for grabs. In his end of the year press conferences, Mel Tucker made it clear that no spot was safe headed into 2023.

Payton Thorne was one year removed from a record-setting season for the Spartans, as the threat of Kenneth Walker III made passing lanes open up for the signal-caller. With the threats of Connor Heyward and Jalen Nailor gone, as well as Walker, Thorne regressed in 2022.

After missing a snap with injury against Western Michigan, Thorne never retained any rhythm, having bipolar performances. Against Washington, Thorne and Keon Coleman were trying to win the game themselves. Against Minnesota, the quarterback had multiple red zone turnovers. To compound things, he would be losing his best target in Jayden Reed.

This offseason, Thorne appeared determined, being the first non-special teamer to take the field for Michigan State’s spring practice that was open to the public. He looked better, making multiple good throws and leading the Spartans to a score in a two minute drill via a quarterback scramble. With Thorne fully healthy, the Spartan faithful could see a return of 2021 Payton Thorne. Instead, he entered the transfer portal on April 30.

Additionally, the Spartans lost their top player, Coleman, to the portal that same day.

That leaves the Spartans in this precarious situation now. Thorne is now at Auburn, leaving two quarterbacks to fight for the right to be the next Spartan starting quarterback.

Noah Kim

Noah Kim has always been the underdog. Despite his prolific high school record with 40 wins and two losses, his offer list contained three FBS offers: Michigan State, Virginia Tech, and Western Michigan.

At the time, Western Michigan was looking to for a quarterback after missing out on their primary target of the 2019 class, Payton Thorne, and settling for a two-star prospect. Additionally, despite Kim’s upside as a dual-threat, he was listed as a pro style quarterback via 247Sports. He was barely in the top 60 pro style quarterbacks in the nation, ranking 58th. In the state of Virginia, Kim was outside the top 30 in prospects.

The three-star was viewed as a depth piece for the Spartans, with the upside of seeing the field during blowouts. He was the last quarterback commit under coach Mark Dantonio, and stayed with the Spartans after his hasty exit the day before National Signing Day.

While Thorne flourished in 2021, Kim spent his redshirt freshman year as QB3 on the depth chart, mired behind both Thorne and Temple transfer Anthony Russo. The only time Kim was QB2, after Russo was suspended for an off the field incident for a game; Kim did not see the field. The only two times a backup quarterback saw the field for the Spartans in 2021, Russo took those reps.

Leading into 2022, there was hype for two quarterbacks for the Spartans: Thorne and incoming freshman Katin Houser. The latter, the first “blue chip” quarterback commit under Mel Tucker (sorry, Hamp Fay), had everyone, myself included, as the presumed heir to Thorne. Kim was again forgotten about and overlooked.

Then, the season started. Kim quietly won the backup job, and in his second game as a backup (and first of 2022), was called on. Thorne’s injury against Western Michigan forced him to sit out for a play, and Kim drew a pass interference on a deep shot. Ironically, this means that Kim did not record a statistic in his first career game. See a theme of Kim being overlooked?

When the Spartans played Akron, Kim got to see his first extended look at the field. With Thorne nursing an injury from the previous week, he was pulled to start the second half and Kim came in. He went 2-for-2 for 22 yards and a touchdown to Tre Mosley. In that game, everyone was talking about the backup playing. However, it was all about the first career reps for Houser.

The first time we got to see what Kim could do came against Minnesota. Thorne, as mentioned earlier, could not get out of his own way that game. He was relatively efficient, being 17-for-24, but two interceptions and a fumble doomed the Spartans. With the game lost, Mel Tucker brought in his backups to gain experience. This is where the real story of Kim begins.

The Spartans struggled against Minnesota all day, and were looking at their first shut out in an attended Spartan Stadium since 1985 (note the word attended, as the Spartans were shut out in 2020 against Indiana during the pandemic). Kim entered the game with the ball on the MSU 25 and under two minutes remaining. He led the team down the field, making a few small plays. The Spartans entered fourth-and-2 with a shutout loss on the line. Kim delivered a 15-yard pass to Cade McDonald and the Spartans have another chance to score. Now, with just under 20 seconds remaining Kim drops back and delivers the best pass the Michigan State faithful had seen all day.  His 27-yard strike to Germie Bernard helps the Spartans avoid a shutout.

The next week, Tucker affirms that Thorne is the starter for the Spartans. Kim does not see the field against Maryland.

Against Ohio State, even the most loyal Michigan State football fan admits things looked grim. On the first drive, Thorne led the Spartans into OSU territory, but is then intercepted on a deep shot. Thorne eventually leads the Spartans on a scoring drive, but it is 49-13 and nearly every time Thorne dropped back, he has an Ohio State defender or three staring him in the face. Tucker elects to put Noah Kim in, presumably to be the next player meeting the turf or spiking the ball on each drop back. Once again, Kim surprises. After a pair of three-and-out his first two series, Kim leads the Spartans to another scoring drive. Kim cannot maintain the momentum for the next drive, with another three-and-out to wrap up the game.

Despite leading two scoring drives against two Big Ten defenses in five total drives, Kim would not see the field the rest of the season. Now, he had the crowd on his side, calling for him when the offense languished and Thorne trotted out, battered and injured.

That leads us to where we are now. Kim is now a redshirt junior who was seen multiple Big Ten defenses. In the spring game, Kim looked inconsistent. He followed a bad series with a great set of passes, and then got the call to play the second set of two minute drills for the Spartans. Just like he did against Minnesota the previous fall, Kim started with a few small gains, and then had a massive pass to a young receiver to give the Spartans a scoring drive. In fact, the spot Kim delivered the ball to Antonio Gates Jr. should be within a few yards of where his strike to Germie Bernard was last fall.

One of the top questions after the spring game was “Why did Houser not get a two minute drill?” Tucker’s response was that players practices earned their spot, was subsequently overblown by the media. People would state the beauty of Kim’s throw, but then question for Houser. Even in his prime chance to shine, people called for Kim’s competition.

Any time you are ready to write Kim out, he prevails. In high school, Kim broke his leg his junior year, giving him his first career loss. The next year, he led Westfield right back to an undefeated regular season. He is a sneakily athletic quarterback who was overlooked. Kim is the last of the Dantonio-era quarterbacks, and he fits the mold of what Coach D built in the mid-2010s. I’ll go as far as to say that Coach D might have saved the best for last with Kim.

Houser has the prestige, the arm strength, and some of the top figures of Michigan State football Twitter going to bat for him. Kim has the athleticism, the collegiate experience, and the unwavering belief in himself.

With Thorne transferring out, Kim has his eyes on the prize. He’s the underdog. That’s OK, he has been his whole career.


Michigan State football: Washington game time, channel announced

Fans won’t be too thrilled about the channel.



Michigan State football
© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington vs. Michigan State football rematch is on Sept. 16, and the Spartans have revenge on their minds.

The game time for the Washington vs. Michigan State football game was just announced and is one I think most Michigan State fans will be happy with. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 16.

This is a great start time for Michigan State fans. That will give fans plenty of time to travel to East Lansing, enjoy a tailgate and get into the stadium. On top of that, the game will get down around 8 p.m. ET which is good for the crowd that does not like to be out late.

However, I think a lot of fans were hoping for a noon start time in this game. A noon start would have been a 9 a.m. local time for Washington, likely giving the Spartans a slight advantage. It’s no surprise seeing this big of a game scheduled in the evening to avoid that.

On top of the game time announcement, where the game will be aired on TV was also announced. This is where the good news ends. The Spartans game against Washington will only be available for streaming on Peacock. That means Spartan fans at home will have to pay to watch this game. However, a simple Google search showed me that Peacock currently only costs $20 for the entire year. A lot of Big Ten football and basketball games will only be available on Peacock this season, so that may not be a bad investment to make right now if you can.

What would a win mean for Michigan State football?

Michigan State will have revenge on its mind in this game. Washington beat the Spartans last season in Seattle 39-28. The game however did not feel that close. Michigan State made a late comeback to make the final score look respectable, but a lot of fans will tell you we never really stood a chance.

Washington will likely be a top 10 heading into this matchup, so Michigan State has a great opportunity in front of it. A win would would help spring the Spartans into the conference season with a lot of positive momentum.

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Jordan Hall hosts second annual free youth football camp (Video)

Jordan Hall is a legend already.



Jordan Hall
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Michigan State freshman linebacker Jordan Hall continues to show just why he’s one of the best out there.

Jordan Hall is already showing signs of being the next great Spartan on and off the field.

The Michigan State freshman linebacker was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. However, he most recently moved to Bradenton, Fla., to play football at IMG Academy.

This past weekend, Hall returned home to Fredericksburg to host his second annual free Jordan Hall Youth Football Camp.

Hall has already been making a name for himself on the field for the Spartans this spring. His play and effort has been praised by fellow players and coaches alike. IMG Academy has a long history of producing high-quality athletes. This makes Hall’s tenure in the program even more noteworthy. He became the first three-time captain in IMG Academy history.

When coaches are recruiting players, they are hoping to find the perfect mix of talent and character. You don’t become a three-time captain of a storied school like IMG Academy without having both.

In a recent interview with Spartan Shadows, Cryeeta Hall said of her son, “One of his favorite things he loves to do is teach the game of football to kids. He loves to coach.”

Michigan State fans are excited to see what Jordan Hall can contribute on the field, but his character off the field so far is creating just as much excitement. When you see a young man with the heart and determination to give back to his hometown, it lets fans know this is the sort of player you can to rally around and support. Mel Tucker has shown intentionality in his recruiting. He has a specific type of player that he’s looking for. Jordan Hall epitomizes a Tucker type of player.

Hall has the potential to earn immediate playing time this year as a true freshman. I’m not a betting man but if I were, I’d wager that we’ll see him as a team captain for the green and white sooner than later.

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Mel Tucker is best coach in the Big Ten when it comes to one stat

This may surprise you.



Mel Tucker

Mel Tucker is the best coach in the conference when it comes to this one surprising stat.

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is one of the best coaches in the Big Ten when it comes to close games.

This may surprise some considering two of Tucker’s three years at Michigan State have resulted in losing seasons. But the data shows that Tucker knows how to come out on top when the game is close.

He has been at Michigan State since 2020. During that three year timeframe he boasts a 10-1 record in games decided by 10 points or less which is the best record in the conference during that span.

Here is a list of all 11 of those games:


  • at Michigan (W 27-24)
  • vs. Northwestern (W 29-20)


  • vs. Nebraska (W 23-20)
  • at Indiana (W 20-15)
  • vs. Michigan (W 37-33)
  • vs. Penn State (W 30-27)
  • vs. Pittsburgh (W 31-21)


  • vs. Wisconsin (W 34-28)
  • at Illinois (W 23-15)
  • vs. Rutgers (W 27-21)
  • vs. Indiana (L 39-31)

How impressive is this really?

A 10-1 record when games are within 10 points is extremely impressive. The only loss on this list is Indiana from last season, a game Michigan State likely should have one. The Spartans ended up losing in overtime to the Hoosiers, but were a chip shot field goal away from winning in regulation. That is a field goal college kickers make almost every time, so Tucker’s one loss on this list could easily have been another win.

Regardless, 10-1 is the best winning percentage in games decided by 10 points or less in the Big Ten during that three-year span.

This is how the rest of the Big Ten teams fared during this same timeframe:

  1. Michigan State: 10-1 (.909)
  2. Maryland: 8-3 (.727)
  3. Iowa: 11-5 (.688)
  4. Indiana: 7-4 (.636)
  5. Purdue: 12-7 (.632)
  6. Ohio State: 3-2 (.600)
  7. Michigan: 6-4 (.600)
  8. Minnesota: 9-7 (.563)
  9. Rutgers: 7-6 (.538)
  10. Wisconsin: 6-7 (.462)
  11. Penn State: 5-7 (.417)
  12. Northwestern: 5-9 (.357)
  13. Illinois: 6-11 (.353)
  14. Nebraska: 5-16 (.238)

What does this tell us about Mel Tucker?

One thing this tells us is the Tuck is a great in game coach in tight situations. No coach goes 10-1 in close games by accident. Sometimes there is a lot of luck involved with winning close games, but that’s not necessarily the case when you win them this efficiently. Anyone can close a game out when you are up by 20, but not everyone can win a close game in the closing seconds.

This statistic is not all good though. Michigan State has won 18 games during the past three seasons. This means that over half of the games Mel Tucker has won at Michigan State have been within 10 points. For a program with extremely high goals, that fact is a little scary.

As I mentioned before, sometimes luck has to be on your side to win these close games. So relying on winning a lot of close games to have a great season is not a recipe for success.

One things for sure though, as long as Mel Tucker is the coach at Michigan State, we stand a very good chance at winning any close game.

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