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Game Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Michigan State Spartans

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

In what has been a disappointing season for Michigan State Spartans football, the team has a chance to end the regular season on a high note against a putrid Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team.

Let us preview this battle of college football juggernauts (I literally laughed out loud while typing that).

Tale of the Tape

Michigan State:
2018 Record — 6-5 (4-4 Big Ten)

Offense (per game basis)— 346 total yards, 225.36 passing yards, 120.6 rushing yards,

Defense (per game basis)— 320.1 yards allowed, 241.18 passing yards allowed, 78.9 rushing yards allowed

Cumulative Points Scored (per game basis): 20.27
Cumulative Points Allowed (per game basis): 18.73

Current S&P+ Ranking: 31st

2018 Record — 1-10 (0-8 Big Ten)

Offense (per game basis) — 270.7 total yards, 134.27 passing yards, 136.5 rushing yards

Defense (per game basis)— 409.8 yards allowed, 187.91 passing yards allowed, 221.9 rushing yards allowed

Cumulative Points Scored (per game basis): 13.82
Cumulative Points Allowed (per game basis): 33.0

Current S&P+ Ranking: 120th

Series History/All-Time Records

All-time head-to-head record: Michigan State leads 6-3
Last Michigan State Win: Nov. 25, 2017 (40-7)
Last Rutgers Win: Sept. 4, 2004 (19-14)
Michigan State all-time record: 700-458 44
Rutgers all-time record: 652-657-42

Previous Game Results (Quick Hits Recap)

Nebraska 9, Michigan State 6
The defense balled out, but what is an “offense?” There were some weather issues, but there was no excuse to lose this game when your defense only allows nine points. That’s all I want to say about this game before I fall down the rabbit hole. Rutgers should make for a fine bounce-back opponent, though.

Moving on to this week, Saturday’s game against Rutgers is Senior Day. Let’s be sure to support if you can make it to Spartan Stadium!

Penn State 20, Rutgers 7

Rutgers actually played pretty well defensively, allowing just 20 total points and 183 passing yards to Penn State, but at the end of the day the Scarlet Knights lost their 10th game in a row. Rutgers only generated 46 passing yards and seven points, while also turning the ball over three times. Penn State actually jumped out to a 20-0 lead before Rutgers got on the board in the fourth quarter. This is just a very bad football team, but never forget, Rutgers is the “birthplace” of college football, so let us be thankful to them on this week of giving thanks.

Rutgers won’t be bowling this year, so it is the last game for their seniors. It hasn’t been an easy road for them, but we wish them all good luck.

Key Matchups

I’ll be honest, it was a struggle to find interesting matchups in this one, so this section will be a bit lighter than normal.

Rocky Lombardi vs. Rutgers pass defense: While nothing is certain, it sure is likely that Lombardi will earn another start. He is coming off of a miserable game at Nebraska (15-41, 146 yards, zero touchdowns, one pick), so he needs to show something this week. The one aspect of Rutgers’ game that is good is its pass defense, which ranks No. 24 in the country. Michigan State has struggled to score points and move the football. There is no reason to let a team like Rutgers hang around in this one. Lombardi must find holes in the defense and lead the offense.

Michigan State rush offense vs. Rutgers rush defense: Here is a tale of two bad units going head-to-head. MSU ranks 117th in rushing offense, while Rutgers ranks 117th. For those counting along, MSU is equally as bad at running the football as Rutgers is at defending the run. Something has to give in this matchup.

Game Info

Time: 4 p.m. EST
TV Channel: Fox
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
Weather expectations: Rain showers expected, 44 degrees, winds 10-12 MPH blowing south
Line: Michigan State -27


There isn’t a lot of need to get too in-depth with this one — Rutgers is an awful football team. MSU is undefeated against Rutgers in Big Ten play (4-0), and has not lost to the Scarlet Knights since 2004. Rutgers averages just about 13 points per game, and while MSU’s offense is struggling mightily, RU gives up 33 points per game to its opponents. If you think Michigan State’s offense is bad, please watch Rutgers tomorrow (Ranks 127th out of 129 teams). The Scarlet Knights are kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on defense. The passing defense is actually very good, which is top-25 in NCAA, but the rushing defense ranks toward the bottom of the nation.

Also, Rutgers’ quarterback combo of Artur Sitkowski and Giovanni Rescigno have combined for four touchdown passes and 20 interceptions this season, which is nothing short of amazing. It’s very possible the Michigan State vaunted defense holds Rutgers under 150 total yards. MSU should have no problem in this one.

Will Michigan State win by 30, as it should, or will the offense continue to struggle and let Rutgers keep it close?


What happens in the regular season finale?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Michigan State wins in blowout fashion
    (33 votes)
  • 47%
    Michigan State wins close
    (39 votes)
  • 12%
    (10 votes)
82 votes total Vote Now