Matchup: Michigan at #8 Michigan State (-17, 48.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 25th @ 3:30 pm (EST)
Location: East Lansing, MI (airing on ABC)
Preview: The Michigan State Spartans take on the Michigan Wolverines in an intrastate Big Ten rivalry on Saturday from East Lansing Michigan.
It’s been a rather difficult season in Ann Arbor in 2014. The Wolverines are currently 3–4 and 1-2 in conference play. They did however stop their three game skid two weeks ago with a 18-13 home win against Penn State. The Nittany Lions however are the only quality win for the Wolverines this season with others coming against Appalachian State and Miami of Ohio. They were crushed at Notre Dame 31–0, beaten thoroughly at home against Utah 26–10, and have lost to Minnesota and Rutgers. Even a win against the rival Spartans could not save Brady Hoke’s job as it looks to be certain that he will be gone at the end of the season. Quarterback Devin Gardner has been inconsistent this season completing 63% of his passes for one 103 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Wolverines have been inconsistent on offense averaging just 175 yards passing per game and 164 yards on the ground per game. On defense they are actually respectable, ranking 10th in the nation in total defense allowing 4.62 yards per play.
The Michigan State Spartans are currently 6–1 and ranked 8th in the nation. They are coming off an impressive 56–17 win over Indiana on the road. When you think of the Spartans you would usually think defense, however the Spartans are third in the nation in scoring averaging 47 points per game. Junior quarterback Connor Cook is completing 61% of his passes for 1641 yards with 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Cook has had a lot of time to make his throws being sacked just four times this season and also has a quarterback rating of 164.0. The Spartans are running the ball effectively as well averaging 260 yards per game and are led by running back Jeremy Langford who is averaging 5.3 yards per carry with seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Tony Lippett is a game changer averaging 20.2 yards per reception with eight touchdowns this season. The Spartans are still stout on defense ranking 9th in the country in total defense allowing 292.7 yards per game and have the nations 8th best run defense allowing just 100 yards on the ground per game.
In last year’s contest, Michigan State dominated from the opening kick in a 29-6 win over the Wolverines. I don’t see this being any different even with Michigan coming off the bye, the talent disparity is just too big to ignore. Michigan will not be able to run the ball on the Spartans and the Spartans will make them one-dimensional forcing them in third and long situations which will be too much for Devin Gardner to handle. Michigan’s defense will not be able to stop Connor Cook as they’ve had a lot of trouble this year against elite quarterbacks. Michigan State is in a tough spot here as they have their bye week next and Ohio State on tap the week after. I just don’t see them going against an in-state rival unfocused as this is also a recruiting battle. Mark D’Antonio will have his troops ready and I expect the Spartans to roll once again.
2014 Week 9 NCAA Football Pick: Michigan State -17, Over 48.5
Michigan at Michigan State Score Prediction: Michigan State 37 – Michigan 14