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OTB Staff Predictions: Rutgers At Michigan State

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Find out how many of us think Rutgers will win their first B1G game of the season.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Rutgers Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Cancro: So. I’m getting my hair cut the other day and my guy likes sports and he talks to me about the Jets and Rutgers (yes, they can be very depressing conversations at times). And he opens with, “Poor Rutgers” and I’m thinking, come on, they’ve lost but it’s better than it was, even earlier in the season. That being said, the Battle for the Basement commences at noon Saturday in Spartyville. Is there any reason to think RU will come around to win? Is there any reason to think MSU will come around to win? Has either team shown....anything? And remember, a college game cannot end in a tie! And it won’t; the Knights will prevail. I guaran...no, I don’t. But they win. Rutgers 27 Michigan State 23

David Anderson: Last year was close because of Carroo. Mark Dantonio can coach, we THINK Chris Ash can coach. Regardless of the QB (not Lewerke), MSU will stick to the running game and eventually wear down the RU front. RU’s offense went completely dormant for almost two full quarters finally waking up in the closing minutes last week and there’s no reason to think that changes ... UNLESS Martin AND Hicks or Gio get carries, break tackles, and milk clock demoralizing the Spartans (something Michigan couldn’t even do). If this game were at home, Rutgers might break through, but even in a stadium where they can’t fathom how cheap tickets are I don’t see B1G win #1 here unless we find out Dantonio is officially on his way to LSU. Michigan State 30, Rutgers 22. Prove me wrong, please!

RutgersNation86: This is a game Rutgers is definitely capable of winning as Michigan State is off to their worst Big Ten start in history. Rutgers nearly knocked off the fourth ranked Spartans last year, despite being 13 point underdogs. While Rutgers has yet to win a conference game, they are due. The defense continues to improve each week, special teams is improving, and the offense is starting to gel under Gio. If both Gio and Robert Martin come back healthy, the Scarlet Knights have a reasonable shot of pulling out the upset in East Lansing. Rutgers 35, Michigan State 31

Matthew Pisani: I remember last year when the Spartans came to Rutgers and Rutgers played them really really tight. If it were not for a fourth down spike, one could make the argument that we could have won that game. That Michigan State team went on to the College Football Playoff. If we were able to compete with them last year, I look for much of the same this year as the Spartans are a dismal 2-7. This year’s team is vastly in a worse spot than last year’s team was. If Robert Martin plays alongside a productive Justin Goodwin, there is a good chance we could pull it off. On defense, the secondary needs to do a better job winning the 50-50 balls and stopping the defense from getting within field goal range. In the same vein, special teams needs to not give the Spartans incredible field position drive after drive. I could see Rutgers’ issues getting cleaned up a little in this one and squeak by with a win. Rutgers 24 Spartans 21

Dave White: Yes, MSU is 0 for the Big Ten too. Yes, Rutgers is going to be desperate. But here's the problem, MSU is going to be desperate as well. Rutgers' desperation hasn't been able to get them a win even when the opposition tried to hand the game to them. On the road, this is going to be mega tough. I don't see good news coming. But with luck basketball will start the season 1-0... maybe? Michigan State 35 Rutgers 18

Cara Sanfilippo: It's been a long season, Rutgers fans. There have been a lot of games it seemed we should have won that slipped through our fingers. However, I still an eternal optimist. The blowouts to powerhouse programs #3 Michigan and #5 Ohio State happened early in the season, and we have been improving and competitive with mid-tier Big Ten programs ever since. Plus, Michigan State is not the powerhouse it has been historically and has been plagued with similar injury issues as Rutgers. Starting MSU quarterback Tyler O'Connor and multiple other key players on the offense and defense are marked as questionable for this week's game.

MSU has the same record we do (2-7, 0-7 in the Big Ten), and have lost to teams that we have come so close to beating in Indiana, Illinois, etc. I think we will need to improve, as this team still has players that came off a College Playoff, despite their record. We will need to get better in all areas, Special Teams, Offense, Defense, in order to have a chance, but this team is improving each week. It will be tough on the road, so I think it will be close, but I have faith. Especially if we continue to improve, if Gio is healthier, and if the secondary actually turns around and tips some passes away. I am going against the spread. My prediction: Rutgers 31 MSU 28

Jim Hoffman: I have looked at the tea leaves, stared into a crystal ball, review tarot cards, and consulted an astrologer. They were unanimous: they have NO IDEA what to expect on Saturday. We have a game where one of the teams will gain their first conference win of the season, and both are already ineligible for bowl play. Surprise, the Big Ten Network has it on as a noon start. Vegas has RU as 14.5 point dogs, and they are probably right, but they called it the same last week, and they certainly beat the spread. I think the Scarlet Knights realize this may be their last best chance to avoid going 0 for the season in the conference, and pull this off. Rutgers 28 Michigan State 24

Aaron Breitman: I think this will be a low scoring affair and not because of any type of defensive clinic from either side. Both teams have struggled on offense, particularly in finishing drives with scores. However, I think Michigan State's offense has been more consistent in sustaining drives and that gives them an edge in this game. I know O'Connor's availability could signal a change at quarterback, but I also worry about the Rutgers defense stopping Spartan running back L.J. Scott on the ground. I think it's a relatively close game that results in Michigan State pulling away in the 4th quarter. Michigan State 28 Rutgers 17

Bill Tharp: Coming off a disappointing second half performance against Indiana, the Scarlet Knights will need to put together a full 60 minute performance. Sparty is on a seven game losing streak and absolutely ravaged by injuries, leaving them prime for the picking. Quarterback has been an issue all season, and they may be down to their third string QB. Look for Robert Martin to be in an expanded role as he comes back from injury and improvement from the slobs up front in pass protection. If Rutgers defends the run as well as they did last week, and tighten things up in the secondary, they should emerge victorious in a tight one. Rutgers 24 Michigan State 17

Chris Drabik: My first game prediction just so happens to perfectly align with Rutgers first Big Ten win of the year. Too good to be true? Absolutely not. This will be an ugly game of sorts as both teams will lean on their ground game to move the football. Once the Rutgers defense keys in on LJ Scott and forces Tyler O’Connor/Brian Lewerke/whoever they trot out there at QB to beat them, the game will be there for them to win. Come the fourth quarter, Gio Rescigno makes a couple of big throws and gets his first signature win. David Bonagura hits a late field goal to seal the victory. Rutgers 17 Michigan State 14