While the Spartans (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten) have lost four straight games after last week’s collapse against Illinois at home, the Wolverines (7-2, 4-2) are fresh off two emphatic wins and could still reach its best mark yet under Jim Harbaugh. Michigan State could feasibly reverse course and salvage some of its season, but that would have to start this week at Michigan Stadium.
With Paul Bunyan rivalry trophy on the line, let’s take a closer look at the college football matchup.
When and Where: Michigan State at Michigan
- Location: Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
- Date: 11/16/19 (Saturday)
- Time: 11 a.m. CT
- Coverage: Fox
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Michigan State Outlook
An Illinois team that was once 2-4 mounted the largest comeback in program history inside Spartan Stadium last week, closing a 25-point deficit and finishing with four total takeaways in an embarrassing 37-34 loss for Michigan State.
The Spartans’ attack was effective enough to win for three quarters with 34 points and 526 yards of offense, but four straight punting drives late and a few fourth-quarter turnovers — including an 84-yard pick-six — put the burden on sealing the game on the defense. And, boy, did the Spartans fail to rise to the challenge.
While the Illini have proved their nothing to scoff at, the Wolverines are far more dangerous on both sides of the ball. The Spartans offense could find itself fighting for every yard against one of the nation’s top defensive units, which means their own defense will need to prove it can be better than last week’s final stand. Easier said than done, especially on the road.
Road losses at Wisconsin and Penn State after the first seven weeks had Michigan looking like it still had much to learn if it wanted to join college football’s elite. But, after a 45-14 home thumping of Notre Dame and a 38-7 road rout at Maryland, the Wolverines might have the table set for the next three weeks to show tangible improvement.
The biggest game in showcasing that growth, of course, will be the Nov. 30 regular-season finale against Ohio State, but hosting the cross-state Spartans will serve as a nice appetizer as well as a must-win game from the perspective of competitiveness.
Shea Patterson is coming off two of his quietest weeks of the season with just 251 passing yards combined against the Fighting Irish and Terrapins, but that could change this week given how effective Illinois quarterback — and former Wolverine — Brandon Peters was against the late-game Spartans. Patterson also has the benefit of a pair of high-powered rushers in Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet, the latter of whom has 11 touchdowns and 559 rushing yards as a breakout freshman this year.
Betting Odds & Trends
- Michigan State (+13.5) vs. Michigan State
- Over/Under: 44.5
*All odds are courtesy of Odds Shark
Michigan State Trends
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games
- Total has gone UNDER in 13 of last 17 games
- 1-4 ATS in last 5 games played in October
- 5-1 SU in last 6 games
- 4-1 ATS in last 5 Big Ten games
- Total has gone OVER in 6 of last 9 games with Michigan favored
Head to Head
- Michigan State has won 7 of last 10 series games
- Michigan State is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 series games
- Total has gone UNDER in 7 of last 10 series games
Defense defeated the Spartans last week, and defense seems likely to do them in again with the high-level play of the Wolverines presenting a difficult challenge after last week’s upset home loss.
Pick: Take Michigan to win, but expect for Michigan State to keep things interesting enough for the spread easily cover the spread.