The Marietta, Georgia, receiver had 196 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions in the win over Michigan State’s rival.
White had only one reception for 5 yards in the first game of the season against Rutgers but dominated against the Wolverines. He’s the first Spartans receiver with 190 receiving yards or more in a game since R.J. Shelton had 190 yards against Northwestern in 2016, and it’s the most by a Michigan State receiver since Mark Dell had 202 yards against Cal in 2008.
“He’s done a good job in practice,” Coach Mel Tucker said of White after the game. “I remember him in high school. We saw him as a player and thought he was an outstanding player. Guys that step on the field on game day, they step on the field because of what they’ve done in practice.
“So we’ve seen him make plays, so we were not surprised.”
Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi completed only 17 of his 32 pass attempts in the win but had 323 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Lombardi had two interceptions and a fumble in the loss to Rutgers but took care of the ball in Week 2.
The Spartans’ defense gave up 300 yards passing to Michigan quarterback Joe Milton, but the Wolverines did not have a touchdown through the air. All three touchdowns came on the ground, but Michigan was held to 4.5 yards per carry and 152 total yards in the game while struggling to run the ball up the middle of the Michigan State defense.
That defense was led by linebacker Antjuan Simmons, who had 11 total tackles and two pass breakups, including one pass in the end zone, preventing a Michigan touchdown. After the game, Milton was asked about Simmons and his performance, to which Milton asked who Simmons was and said he wasn’t on his radar before the game.
“I mean, it don’t matter, Paul B’s back with us. I don’t know what those guys do over there, but we study our opponent, we know who we’re playing against,” Simmons said after the game. “So I don’t care if I’m on Joe Milton’s radar or not. He’s just a quarterback who plays here at Michigan. I’m not worried about what he’s thinking or whatever.”
Simmons was a big part of stopping Michigan’s offense, and Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh praised the Spartans after the game, saying his team couldn’t get into a consistent rhythm on offense.
“[Our] team is going to own this. Congratulations to Michigan State, but we gotta own the loss and come back and find out where we can improve,” Harbaugh said. “This is a high-character team and I believe they’ll do just that. Each person looking at themselves, player, coach, all of us, and strive to be a lot better. Try to find the places that we can make improvements.”
This was Tucker’s first game against rival Michigan, and the win gives Harbaugh a 1-6 record at home against Michigan State and Ohio State.
Tucker joins Nick Saban (1995) as the only Michigan State head coaches to defeat Michigan in their first game against the Wolverines at the school.
@MSU_Football It’s JUST GETTING STARTED! Congrats!!
Enjoy the ride HOME TO MSU! AND Bring Paul Bunyan with you!
— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) October 31, 2020
Mark Dantonio, who retired as the Spartans’ coach after 13 seasons, tweeted congratulations to his former team.