Michigan vs. Michigan State prediction and game preview. The Wolverines are heavily favored heading to East Lansing to face the rival Spartans.
Michigan vs. Michigan State Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – Noon ET
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Michigan running back Mike Hart called Michigan State the “little brother” in the rivalry following the Wolverines’ victory over the Spartans in 2007, which was Mark Dantonio’s first season at MSU. Dantonio wasn’t very pleased, and the Spartans have gone on to win seven of the eight meetings since.
The most recent victory was the most shocking, with Michigan State capitalizing on a botched punt in the final seconds to down Michigan, 27-23, on its way to last year’s College Football Playoff in Jim Harbaugh’s first season guiding the Wolverines.
But it seems Michigan is ready to go back to being the top dog in the state. The Wolverines are ranked No. 2 as Harbaugh builds a juggernaut in Ann Arbor. The Spartans have regressed tremendously from their success in recent years, losing five in a row in what is turning out to be Dantonio’s worse season in East Lansing.
What To Know About Michigan
Prior to last year’s meeting, Michigan was just beginning to get its footing under Harbaugh after several tumultuous years before his arrival. The loss to the Spartans was heartbreaking, sure, but the Wolverines still proved they would be a force to be reckoned with. The leap they’ve taken this season shows this meeting will likely go much differently.
Michigan is 7-0 and has outscored its last two opponents 119-8. It is allowing the fewest total yards per game and fewest yards per play in the nation and has one of the most dynamic players in the country in Jabrill Peppers. He and Jourdan Lewis are among the 16 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the best defensive back in the nation.
The offense went for 561 yards in last week’s blowout of Illinois. The Wolverines are averaging 483 yards per game, good for second in the Big Ten.
What To Know About Michigan State
The Spartans are going through their worst season since Dantonio took over, and Michigan is ready to pounce. Michigan State has lost to far less-prominent teams over the last four weeks – at Indiana, BYU, Northwestern and at Maryland, which won 28-17 on Saturday. If the Spartans somehow come out of this game with a victory, it’ll be one of the bigger miracles Dantonio has pulled off during his tenure in East Lansing.
Michigan State’s quarterback situation is a mess. Tyler O’Connor struggled before getting benched in favor of redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke, who started against both Northwestern and Maryland. O’Connor entered against the Wildcats and threw three touchdown passes, but Dantonio said he was “nicked up” for the Terps game, and Lewerke completed just 11 of 24 passes and was intercepted.
Adding to the dysfunction, standout linebacker Riley Bullough couldn’t keep it together last week. He accrued three personal foul penalties in the first quarter, the last of which was a targeting call that got him ejected. It was Bullough’s first game back after missing the previous three with a shoulder injury.
Offense: Michigan – The Wolverines are balanced all around, and Wilton Speight has thrown 13 touchdowns against only two picks.
Defense: Michigan – The best defense in the country, hands down.
Special Teams: Michigan – Peppers against a Michigan State kick coverage that has had problems for three years? Watch out.
Coaching: Even – One down year won’t push Dantonio behind Harbaugh, but that could change soon.
Intangibles: Michigan State – The Spartans have all the momentum in this rivalry. They’re just far less talented this time around.
Matchup To Watch
Michigan State QBs vs. Michigan’s defense
If O’Connor is available, it’s likely multiple quarterbacks will see time for the Spartans. Neither of them are prepared to go up against a pair of Jim Thorpe semifinalists and a defense that leads the Big Ten with 25 sacks.
Spread: Michigan -21.5
Over/Under: No Line
Michigan vs. Michigan State Prediction
The rivalry shifts in convincing fashion. Michigan State won’t be able to score nor stop Michigan from scoring in a blowout in East Lansing.
Michigan vs. Michigan State final score prediction: Michigan 59, Michigan State 20