Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans (-5, 46.5)
The annual battle between Michigan and Michigan State is one of the highlights of the Big Ten schedule and could hold even more meaning this season. First place in the Legends Division will be on the line when the 24th-ranked Spartans host No. 21 Michigan on Saturday. Michigan State is undefeated in conference but will be tested by its toughest stretch of schedule beginning with Michigan.
The Wolverines put up some video game numbers on offense last week in a 63-47 win over Indiana but surrendered over 40 points for the second straight week and are vulnerable on the road. That Michigan offense will get a big test against a Spartans defensive unit that yielded a total of three points in the last two games. “[Michigan State’s] defense is as good as any and that’s going to be a real challenge for us,” Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC.
LINE: The Spartans opened as 5-point home faves. The total opened at 46.5.
WEATHER: There is a 30 percent chance of rain. Wind will blow across the field at 10 mph.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten): The Wolverines will be playing just their third true road game and barely scraped by a winless Connecticut team 24-21 away from home on Sept. 21 before suffering their lone loss, 43-40 in four overtimes, at Penn State on Oct. 12. “I think any time you play away from home, it just is part of it, to make sure that our focus and discipline as a team has to be spot-on for us to go out and compete at our highest level,” Hoke said. Michigan was just two points up on Indiana midway through the fourth quarter on Oct. 19 before a pair of late touchdowns capped a 751-yard offensive outburst.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (7-1, 4-0): The Spartans are looking at two straight games against teams chasing them for the Legends Division and a spot in the Big Ten championship game, with a trip to Nebraska coming up after a bye on Nov. 16. Michigan State padded its record and showed off on defense while making some necessary adjustments offensively in last week’s 42-3 triumph over Illinois, as quarterback Connor Cook went 15-of-16 for 208 yards and three touchdowns in his most efficient performance. Cook’s emergence compliments a running attack that is averaging 196.5 yards.
* Wolverines are 0-5 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Spartans are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 home games.
* Over is 6-1 in Wolverines last seven conference games.
1. Michigan TE A.J. Williams (violation of team rules) will serve a one-game suspension.
2. Michigan State leads the FBS in total defense, surrendering an average of 215.5 yards.
3. The Wolverines halted a four-game losing streak in the series with a 12-10 home triumph over the Spartans last year.