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Rutgers @ Michigan State Game Preview

Battle of the 2-7, 0-6’s

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers @ Michigan State

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan tomorrow afternoon. The Spartans were a top five team coming into this year and they went to the College Football Playoff last year. Much different story this year. Michigan State has the same dismal record as Rutgers: 2-7, 0-6 in Big Ten play.

Location: Spartan Stadium | East Lansing, Michigan

Time: 12pm ET

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: WOR 710-AM, WCTC 1450-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, WNJE 920-AM, WRSU 88.7-FM

Line: -15.5 Michigan State

Other On the Banks Previews

Rutgers is more than two touchdown underdogs

Finding the Silver Lining

Know Thy Enemy

Game Week Press Conferences from the Coaches

Rutgers Football Depth Chart

Opponent Preview

Q&A With Michigan State

The Tale of the Tape

Tyler O’Connor and the Spartans have a solid passing attack. O’Connor is still unsure to play in this game due to injury. Both teams’ defenses have been struggling this year, especially against the run. Rutgers gives up on average 248.4 yards per game and the Spartans give up 166 per game. Rutgers is clearly worse in the category, but 166 yards isn’t too great either. Rutgers has some good running backs if Robert Martin is available to play. Clock control will be the key. Rutgers will need to posses and shut down the Spartans’ passing attack. Rutgers’ secondary is a huge weakness, so defensive stops will be huge for the Scarlet Knights.

How Rutgers Wins

Rutgers wins if Robert Martin is healthy and Justin Goodwin can get involved like he has been as well, especially in pass-catching. Running the ball hard and gaining yards and first downs will be the only way Rutgers could win. Going 1/16 on third down again will not be enough to even keep this game close. Rutgers needs to get first downs and move the ball and eat up the clock. If we get stopped, Michael Cintron needs to actually punt the ball past the 50-yard line. If Rutgers can control the clock and field position, they win the game.

How Michigan State Wins

As I mentioned before, Michigan State has a stellar passing game. Also, their running back L.J. Scott has four rushing TDs this year and their receiver, R.J. Shelton, has 678 yards and five TDs on the year. If these two players get it going for the Spartans, the Knights will have a long day. Rutgers is disastrous against the run, although playing pretty well last week against a high powered run game. If Scott gets holes to run through to keep the ball in their possession, the Knights will have a hard time scoring. Rutgers’ offense went anemic for a while last week and who knows if it will continue into this week. If it does, Michigan State will have the ball forever and Rutgers’ defense will be worn down. As a result, the Spartans will get the easy win.

Official Prediction

Michigan State is the better team on paper. They were a top team coming into this season and finished as a top four team last season. Michigan State should not have the record they have, but they do. Rutgers has been playing better and better each week. If Rutgers can clean up their little errors and prevent Michigan State from driving down the field every drive, they have a good chance at victory.

Giovanni Rescigno will have to not turn the ball over in this game, especially being in East Lansing. If Rutgers wins the turnover battle again, it should prove fruitful. It all comes down to Rutgers’ offense and third-down conversions. I believe that Rutgers’ offense will improve this week and, as a result, come out of Michigan with a Big Ten win. It will not be easy and it will be very close.. Rutgers 24 Spartans 21