Once again, Rutgers is facing a heavily favored opponent in hostile territory. The oddsmakers think this one will be another blowout against the Scarlet Knights, but what do we think at OtB? Rutgers does lead the series against the Spartans by one game. Can RU hold on to the series lead after Saturday?
Bob Cancro: Did Recio really just write that? "Can RU hold on to the series lead after Saturday?" Okay, I've recovered. Back before the season started, I thought we'd be 5-5 at this point. What I actually put into my notes was, if we were 5-5, Flood would not be playing for his job (long past that) and the idea of Pat Narduzzi coming to Rutgers was moot (true). I also felt that regardless of how MSU was doing, going into EL would be a big challenge. And with the Buckeyes almost wrapping up the East, Sparty will be a little tweaked. But now they're saying weather will be nasty. And I had a coach who once said that mud's an equalizer (so we played in a monsoon and lost 47-0. True story.) But if it is cold and rainy, that impacts passing on both sides. That may not be good for us. Finish, boys, finish strong. Michigan State 32, Rutgers 14
Kevin Recio: Well Bob, at least we won't be trailing the Spartans in the series. This one is a tough call, because both teams' seasons are pretty much wrapped up. Michigan State can still play for a
BCS New Year's Six bowl, but does that excite people anymore? All anyone can talk about is the playoffs, leaving the Orange Bowl as a forgotten consolation prize. Meanwhile, Rutgers already clinched bowl eligibility, so there's no telling how fired up they'll be either. Obviously the big factor is that this game is in East Lansing, and despite what the Buckeyes did to Sparty in its own house, it's tough to get anything going against that defense. The Knights beat the spread, just barely. Michigan State 34, Rutgers 13
Ray Ransom: 2004. We're back. It will happen again. Nova throws for 400 yards and Carroo catches 4 TDs. FG block in the final seconds clinches it. Rutgers 42, Michigan State 41
Now that basketball is back, Dave White may not be around these foosball parts too much anymore. His first love is the roundball game, and I'm sure he's still celebrating the emphatic Scarlet Knight win over the nerdier Fairleigh Dickinson Knight version. Still, he found time to let me know he's expecting RU to struggle in East Lansing. Dave is calling for a big victory for the Spartans, Michigan State 42, Rutgers 7.
Andy Egan: Rutgers needs just about everything to go its way to win here. We need Nova to have a big game, with at most one INT. Need Hicks and Martin to roll on Sparty's nasty D the same way they rolled on Indiana's squad. And we need to stop MSU's balanced offense. I think the Knights hang tough, offering their best game against a big-boy this year, but lose it close. Sparty 41- Rutgers 38.