Saturday, October 31, 2020, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan, noon ET
Spartans at Wolverines Betting Preview: Spartans (+25), Wolverines (-25)
Michigan State Spartans
First-year coach Mel Tucker of the Spartans (0-1, 0-1 Big 10) has experienced the rivalry with Michigan after beginning his coach career as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State.
“Being here as a graduate assistant, I was really able to experience it first-hand and feel the passion and the energy,” Tucker said. “Not a day goes by where you don’t hear about this game from someone. It’s certainly not just a game, and that’s what makes college football special is these types of rivalries.”
Tucker’s Spartans will be looking to bounce back from the debacle of a 38-27 loss at home to Rutgers in their opener. The Spartans had seven turnovers with quarterback Rocky Lombardi throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble to detract from his 319-yard passing performance.
“What is your mental disposition coming off a game like that?” Tucker said. “The process is, win or lose, it’s a 24-hour rule, and then it’s time to move on to the next game because the most important game is the next game.
“Obviously we do self-evaluation, we watch the film, we see the things that need to be corrected and put a plan in place to do that. We make sure players understand where we fell short and how we can get better.”
The running game is a big area of need. The Spartans had only 50 yards on 39 carries.
“We’ve got to run the ball better,” Tucker said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball on our terms, because having balance on offense and not being one-dimensional is critically important.”
The No. 13 Wolverines (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) were a bit of a mystery coming into their opener, but put on an impressive performance in their 49-24 romp past Minnesota.
Running backs Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet combined for 152 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries. Joe Milton, making his first start at quarterback, showed his dual-threat skills, completing 15-of-22 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 52 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
“The protection was so good all night, and so was the run blocking,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The defense made some big plays as well. Most notably was a sack that led to Donovan Jeter’s 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first half. The Wolverines led by 18 points at halftime and limited Minnesota to seven second-half points.
“Now we know where we’re at, and we know what we can look forward to building on and getting better,” Harbaugh said. “That’s our focus right now.”
Spartans at Wolverines Betting Pick for October 31, 2020
The Spartans have won four of the last six meetings with the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, a stunning statistic considering Michigan leads the overall series 71-36-5. Michigan was impressive in an opening 49-24 win at Minnesota while Michigan State was dropping its season debut 38-27 at home to Rutgers.
Spartans at Wolverines Betting Pick:
Wolverines 38, Spartans 20
Spartans at Wolverines Best Bet for October 31, 2020
Lombardi passed for 319 yards and three touchdowns for the Spartans while Michigan’s Milton was 15 of 22 passing for 225 yards in his starting debut. Haskins (13.7 yards per carry) and Charbonnt (17.5) led a ground attack that gouged Minnesota for 256 yards.
Spartans at Wolverines Best Bet: OVER 53.5