It’s a down week when FOX has to put two underperforming teams on national TV. Both Michigan State and Nebraska have disappointed this season and only one of them has a chance to end things on a good note. Nebraska, sitting with three wins, is out of the running for a bowl Game. The Spartans were still just -2.5 point road favorites with an over/under of 49.5 as of Tuesday at MyBookie.com Sportsbook.
Nebraska may actually be playing better than Michigan State at this point, winning three of its last Four. Sure, none of those opponents were good, but the Cornhuskers also took Northwestern to the wire on the road and put up a better fight against Ohio State, losing 36-31, also on the road. It hasn’t been the same for MSU since it’s lost by double-digits to both Michigan and Ohio State and hasn’t scored more than 24 points since non-Conference play. The offense simply isn’t working for the Spartans and that’s the main problem in this Game because the one thing the Huskers have been able to do is score.
Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez looks like a future stud in the conference, completing 66.9% of his passes on 8.13 yards per attempt to go with 535 rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns. His ability to escape pressure has been key in Nebraska’s ability to Scoreon any defense. Then you throw in running back Devine Ozigbo, who is averaging 7.5 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns, and it’s clear to see why the offense is humming, especially with experience at wide receiver in Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman. Sure, this offense has had some issues, but its worst Games have come when Martinez was injured.
The question will be what that offense can do against Michigan State’s defense, which allows only 76.5 rushing yards and less than 20 points per Game. This group has been stout for the majority of the season, but it’s also had issues against the pass, which is where Martinez will likely attack most of the Game. That said, the Spartans showed they could defend the passing Game last week against Ohio State so it won’t be as easy as earlier in the season.
But the problem for the Spartans is that they aren’t scoring against anyone, no matter how good or bad the defenses are. Nebraska’s defense has been one of the worst in the country, giving up 449 yards and 33.8 points per contest and that still may not matter for MSU. It’s not like Nebraska has gotten better, either, as it allowed 35 points to Illinois last weekend.
The problem for MSU is that quarterback Brian Lewerke has taken a step back as a junior with a miserable eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. It’s likely Rocky Lombardi will see time in this Game, if not start. Either way, Michigan State will try and get a ground Game going between Connor Heyward and LA’Darius Jefferson, though the team is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry on the season. The only reason to believe in the rushing attack is that Nebraska is allowing 5.0 yards per carry and there should be holes for those guys to run through.
MSU has the better defense but Nebraska has the better quarterback at the moment and is playing at home, which makes for a nice upset opportunity. The Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last five road Games and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 following an ATS loss. The Cornhuskers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six overall, but just 3-13-2 ATS in their last 18 at home. Nebraska always puts up a good fight in this matchup and is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between these schools.
Michigan State ATS Trends
Michigan State is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Games following a loss
Michigan State is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 Games following a ATS loss
Michigan State is 4-9 ATS vs a team with a losing record
Michigan State is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road Games vs a team with a losing home record
Michigan State is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road Games
Michigan State is 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 Games as a road favorite
Nebraska ATS Trends
Nebraska is 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 Conference Games
Nebraska is 3-13-2 ATS in their last 18 home Games
Nebraska is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Games as a home underdog
Nebraska is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Games following a win
Nebraska is 3-12-2 ATS in their last 17 Games following a ATS win
Nebraska is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 Games overall
Nebraska is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Games on turf
Our Pick – Michigan State -2