I don’t care much about Big Ten Championship scenarios or bowl projections at this current point in time. I just want to see Michigan State end the season on a strong note and finish with a record of 9-3, which would far surpass the expectations for most pundits.
That starts this week as the Terps make the trip to East Lansing for a 4 p.m. showdown on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
Preview time, commence:
Tale of the Tape:
Record — 7-3, (5-2 Big Ten)
Offense — 381.8 total yards per game (7th in Big Ten), 234.3 passing yards per game, 147.5 rushing yards per game, 22 points per game
Defense — 325.7 yards allowed per game (5th in Big Ten), 213.9 passing yards allowed per game, 111.8 rushing yards allowed per game, 22.9 points allowed per game
Record — 4-6 (2-5 Big Ten)
Offense — 337.3 total yards per game (11th in Big Ten), 164 passing yards per game, 173.3 rushing yards per game, 27.9 points per game
Defense — 420.8 yards allowed per game (last in Big Ten), 247.5 passing yards allowed per game, 173.3 rushing yards allowed per game, 36.2 points allowed per game
Quick takeaways: Michigan State’s Big Ten rankings in the various statistical categories listed above all took a big hit after last week’s debacle. Most notably, MSU went from the No. 1 rushing team in the Big Ten to fourth in the conference after Ohio State shredded the Spartans for 335 yards on the ground. Maryland has an abysmal passing offense and has had four different quarterbacks, and eight players total, throw a pass this season. Maryland does have a strong ground attack with two running backs with more than 500 yards rushing. The Terps have also found a way to score nearly 28 points per game. But I expect the MSU defense to open a can of whoop a** on the Maryland offense after last week’s performance. The Terps give up the most yards and points per game in the conference as well.
All-time record: Michigan State leads 6-2
Last Spartans win: Nov. 14, 2015 (24-7)
Last Terrapins win: Oct. 22, 2016 (28-17)
Biggest Spartans win: 33-0 (1944)
Biggest Terrapins win: 34-7 (1950)
Current Streak: Maryland with a one-game winning streak
Longest winning streak: Michigan State won four games in a row from 1944-1949
Quick takeaways: These two teams are now Big Ten East rivals, but are still feeling each other out. The two schools have only played eight times, and Michigan State has won 75 percent of those meetings. This will be the fourth year in a row the teams play, but the 2014 matchup was the first meeting since 1950, which was also the last time the Terps beat the Spartans before the 2016 matchup. The Spartans are 4-1 all-time in games played in East Lansing against the Terps. MSU will look to avenge its loss last year and bounce back from last week’s pitiful performance.
Michigan State: It’s the funniest thing, I can’t seem to remember a single detail about what happened last week. Hmm. Oh yeah, the final score was 48-3 in favor of Ohio State and Michigan State was a complete train wreck in all facets of the game. The team looked defeated from the get-go. No need to break this down any further.
Maryland: Maryland was beaten handily by Michigan. Maryland actually out-gained Michigan in passing yards and rushing yards (and obviously total yards). But the Wolverines caused two turnovers, intercepting quarterback Ryan Brand twice. Michigan scored three times on the ground and twice through the air, and Maryland was just no match. The Terrapins, whose head coach D.J. Durkin was a former Michigan defensive coordinator, also had seven penalties compared to just one for Michigan.
Brian Lewerke: 126.8 QB rating, 2,338 passing yards, 59.8 percent completion rate, 16 TDs, seven INTs, 370 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns
LJ Scott: 135 rushes, 584 yards, 4.3 yards per carry, five TDs, 17 catches for 108 yards and one receiving TD
Felton Davis III: 45 catches, 586 yards, 13 yards per catch, eight TDs
Joe Bachie: 81 tackles, 6.5 tackle for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one pass defended
Kenny Willekes: 57 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two passes defended, one fumble recovery
Max Bortenschlager: 113.7 QB rating, 1,007 passing yards, 51.2 percent completion rate, 10 TDs, five INTs, two rushing touchdowns
Ty Johnson: 119 rushes, 770 yards, 6.5 yards per carry, five TDs, five catches for 60 yards and one receiving touchdown
D.J. Moore: 64 catches, 857 yards, 13.4 yards per catch, eight TDs, one rushing touchdown
Jermaine Carter Jr: 67 tackles, 6.5 tackle for loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes defended, three forced fumbles
Antoine Brooks: 64 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, one forced fumbles
Time: 4 p.m. EST
TV Channel: Fox
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
Weather expectations: 41 degrees at kickoff, rain expected, winds 15 MPH blowing north
Odds: Michigan State -16
Rival blog: Testudo Times
Well, it looks rain is expected in the forecast, and for whatever reason, these Spartans seem to perform much better in such conditions. Maryland’s quarterback situation is in shambles, but the Terps are expecting that sophomore Max Bortenschlager will be healthy enough to go after having to sit out last week. But still, if the MSU defense actually remembers how to play football this week, I don’t think Bortenschlager is a true threat to the unit.
Also, Maryland’s defense gives up a ton of points and a ton of yardage. I think Brian Lewerke, who apparently can throw for 400 yards in rainy conditions, has a big bounce back game and shreds the Terps’ secondary. I would really like to see L.J. Scott have a good game, too. This year has been relatively disappointing for him and he needs to break out. He’ll have the opportunity to do so against a Maryland rushing defense that ranks 12th out of 14 teams in the B1G.
I believe MSU wins this game handily — somewhere around a 31-14 final score. But the team must be focused and not feel deflated form the OSU loss.
Will MSU turn things around after last week’s blowout loss and get back on track? Please vote below.
Who wins this Big Ten East battle?
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