Michigan State vs. Rutgers prediction and game preview. Either the Spartans or Scarlet Knights will earn their first Big Ten victory Saturday in East Lansing.
Michigan State vs. Rutgers Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – Noon ET
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Michigan State has hit depths it hasn’t experienced ever before during a surprising drop off after reaching last year’s College Football Playoff. The Spartans are 0-6 in the Big Ten for the first time ever after falling to Illinois, 31-27, last week and stand at 2-7 overall. The quarterback situation has become even more of a mess with Tyler O’Connor not yet being cleared for practice because of a possible concussion suffered against the Fighting Illini.
Rutgers also is 0-6 in conference play, but not many are surprised as first-year coach Chris Ash attempts to rebuild the program. The Scarlet Knights have played much better their last two games, though, falling 34-32 to Minnesota and 33-27 against Indiana last week. Giovanni Rescigno has started each of those contests and has thrown four touchdowns.
What To Know About Michigan State
The Spartans already lost redshirt freshman quarterback Brian Lewerke to a broken leg and again are dealing with an injury to O’Connor, who has struggled when healthy. That leaves Damion Terry to take first-team reps if O’Connor can’t go. Michigan State, though, was done in by 10 penalties last week, with a pair of pass interference calls leading to Illinois’ winning touchdown in the final minute.
Whoever is healthy enough to go this week will have to cut down on those self-inflicted problems. defensive lineman Malik McDowell, offensive linemen David Beedle and Brian Allen, receivers R.J. Shelton and Felton Davis III, tight end Josiah Price, cornerback Darian Hicks and linebacker Riley Bullough all were injured at some point last week. Bullough and Beedle didn’t return, and their statuses for Saturday are unclear.
What To Know About Rutgers
Rescigno’s touchdown run in the third quarter last week put Rutgers up by 11 as it looked poised to secure its first Big Ten victory. It got only a meaningless field goal with 12 seconds left the rest of the way, though. Still, the Scarlet Knights clearly are improving. They scored 14 points combined in their previous four games prior to the last two. Justin Goodwin has averaged 4.7 yards per carry over the last two while also adding a receiving touchdown.
Defense still is an issue, though. Rutgers is tied for 108th in the nation allowing 6.27 yards per play and gave up at least 500 for the third time in five games against the Hoosiers.
Offense: Michigan State – L.J. Scott is carrying the load for the Spartans.
Defense: Michigan State – McDowell is one of the country’s top defensive linemen when healthy.
Special Teams: Even – Both teams rank in the middle of the conference in punt coverage and toward the bottom in kickoff coverage.
Coaching: Michigan State – Dantonio’s reputation might suffer a bit after this season, but he’s still one of the best in the nation.
Intangibles: Michigan State – The Spartans have won both meetings since Rutgers joined the conference.
Matchup To Watch
Scott vs. Rutgers’ run defense
Rutgers is allowing the most rushing yards per game in the conference, and the Spartans are going to try to take advantage. Enter Scott, who is the most bruising and durable of the Michigan State running backs, who all will get some carries.
Spread: Michigan State -14
Michigan State vs. Rutgers Prediction
Finally, Michigan State will end its losing streak – but it won’t be easy. The Spartans hurt themselves with three turnovers, but Rutgers commits four leading to an MSU defensive score that will decide it.
Michigan State vs. Rutgers final score prediction: Michigan State 21, Rutgers 17