This isn’t a rivalry Game, but FOX deemed it worthy of national television, so it’s worthy of a breakdown. Michigan State would do itself well to win this Game, or could be in for a bowl Game it doesn’t want. Rutgers has improved this season, but still sits with a 4-7 record. The Spartans were -13.5 point road favorites as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Spartans have been hard to trust in covering Games this season, especially as a favorite. Numerous times they’ve gotten out to big leads (Minnesota, Maryland) and then let opponents back into Games. Rutgers is better this season, but has still been bad against every relevant opponent. In fact, all of Rutgers wins have come against teams with losing records, unsurprisingly. Coming off a 41-0 beat down by the Hoosiers, Rutgers won’t be a popular team to back, having scored six points in the last two Games.
MSU’s defense should lead this Game like it has for most of the season. The Spartans allow 3.5 yards per carry and just over 100 yards on the ground and that’s Rutgers main route of attack. Giovanni Rescigno has been the starting quarterback for the last month-plus, but there’s a decent chance freshman Johnathan Lewis gets the call. Either way, the SCarlet Knight quarterbacks have posted a combined six touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. Running backs Gus Edwards and Robert Martin should see a lot of the ball, but again, against this defense, that may not prove fruitful. That being the case, Rutgers could once again struggle to reach 10 points.
Michigan State’s offense has played to the level of its competition most of the season and that could show up here. Still, the Knights just allowed Indiana to roll over them and are giving up 4.7 yards per carry. If the Spartans don’t reach 30 points in this Game, it’d be a disappointment. When these teams met last year when both were worse overall, MSU still ran away with it 49-0.
The running backs should see a heavy dosage of carries with LJ SCott leading the way after 29 rushes a week ago. All signs point to them going for at least 200 rushing yards, if not 300. Brian Lewerke has fallen off since throwing for 400 yards in back-to-back Games, but he probably won’t be needed in this one, similar to last week’s win against Maryland.
Similar to last year, the Michigan State defense should dominate this Game with its running Game being enough to put points on the board and be in a good position to cover. As for Rutgers, it will need a good performance from its quarterback and that’s a hard thing to bet on.
The Spartans are 1-7 ATS in their last eight road Games and 3-7 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. The SCarlet Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall. The home team has covered in the last Four meetings between these schools with the under hitting in all of them.
Our Pick – Rutgers +13.5