Oh my how things have changed! Tickets for Saturday’s game between MSU and Rutgers (Noon Kickoff in East Lansing) are selling on Stub Hub for $6. And something else that is equally as surprising is the line on the game. The Spartans are favored by 14 1/2. This game has the makings of a “pick-em.” Let’s just get the prediction out of the way.
George says, “Touchdown MSU” three times and “He hits it” two times. Final Score: MSU 27- Rutgers 21.
Last week’s game against Illinois was a bruiser At one time or another, MSU was without Malik, Josiah, Beedle (OT), Brian Allen, RJ Shelton, Felton Davis, Darian Hicks and Riley Bullough. Everybody is supposedly healthy enough to play but. . . Bullough and Beedle are uncertain for Saturday’s game. Rutgers reports no significant injuries.
This is it! The MSU offense finally get things going against a Rutgers defense that is ranked 108th in the nation. In a 33-27 loss against Indiana, the Rutgers Defense gave up 567 yards. However, MSU makes plenty of penalties on both Offense and Defense- 2nd in the Big Ten with 62 penalties for 66.8 yards per game. The penalties will keep the Rutgers’ Offense on the field and will likely hamper MSU’s offensive production.
Who will start at Quarterback for MSU? We don’t know if TOC is still seeing stars from all of the hits he took against Illinois. Regardless, MSU has nothing to lose by giving Damion Terry the start. Last week Rutgers faced an IU QB who is a pocket passer, and this week they face Damion Terry who likes to run first. If LJ Scott and Terry make a few nice gains, the Spartans’ passing attack could run on full-throttle. If that happens, look for MSU to pick on Cornerback Isaiah Wharton. Wharton ended up on the wrong end of several “jump ball” plays last week. He’s 6’2″ and 202 lbs- not undersized- but Donnie Corley Jr and RJ are extremely athletic. They could make some big plays. After missing last game for violating team rules, look for Senior Monty Madaris to join in the fun and make a statement. Things could be good or they could be not so good. That’s just Spartan football in 2016.
Wharton suspects MSU will come after him. “I know I will be targeted this week. Coach Henry says you can’t let a play beat you more than once.” Well it happened three times against IU.
Rutgers Head Coach, Chris Ash, offers an explanation why he feels MSU is favored. “We’re a first-year coaching staff. They’ve been coaching forever.” “They’re coming off playing in the College Playoff. And we’re not.”
Even so, Coach is upbeat about his defense. He points out that, “Yeah, we gave up 567 yards, but there is more to this defense than the stats portray. IU didn’t get a lot of big plays on the ground.” Yes Coach, but IU scored 33 points and Rutgers “lost” the fourth quarter- much like we’re accustomed to seeing at Michigan State Games.
More positive news for Rutgers- two punts were blocked, but one critical field-goal was missed and a punt was kicked out of bounds. Coach is pleased, but this inconsistent play on Special Teams sounds vaguely familiar.
Spartans Will Win. Thank you Rutgers!