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The 3-2-1 MSU football preview: 3 things we want to see, 2 key stats and 1 gambling pick vs. ASU

Hey, the first gambling pick was correct!

NCAA Football: Utah State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

OK, everyone’s stress levels return to normal after last game?

GREAT, get ready to get them back up again. Except, like, way later at night.

Just like last week, we’ve got ourselves a simple breakdown here. Anything else you want to sound off on? Well, that’s why the wonderful world of the comments section was made.


3 Thing We Want To See

Containing ASU’s passing game

If Arizona State’s passing game isn’t contained, oh boy. This could be a rough one.

Where do we even start? Well, elite receiver N’Keal Harry seems like a good start. The 6-foot-4 junior coming off a 1,142 receiving yard season in 2017 started the season with a bang, 140 yards and two touchdowns. MSU will be busy with him.

And if Harry is somehow contained? Well, fifth-year senior Manny Wilkins is smart and skilled enough to dish the ball to his other weapons.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Igniting the run game

Last week’s run game was a complete disaster…for the UTSA Roadrunners as they ran for just three yards on 33 carries last week.

Last week’s run game from MSU wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t anything close to great either. The Spartans ran for 165 yards on 42 carries, and they’ll have to be more efficient than that to walk away from the desert with a win.

On one hand, Arizona State had a great showing against UTSA. On the other hand, yeah, it was against UTSA. Not necessarily Georgia.

The Sun Devils are replacing five of their front six players from last season, so this could be a nice game for MSU to get the running game rolling.

Pickle juice and Red Bull

Bring these two fluids to the sideline by the tanker truck. Pickle juice for the cramps as kickoff temps will be 100 degrees (“but it’s a dry heat,” so basically just really 65 degrees). Seeing players go down last week in mid-80 degree weather and players go down in Oregon in 2014 with it being 91 degrees has me SHOOK for how the heat will effect this team.

Red Bull? Well, it’s going to be about 11 p.m. to MSU’s bodies when this game gets started. Neither the temperature nor the time is a surprise to this team, so I’m sure they’ll try to get the body clocks set to the right time in preparation for this one. However, you can plan around simulating time zones. You can’t simulate 100 degree-plus weather.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

2 Key Stats


That’s the Big Ten’s record at Arizona State.

Sure, Wisconsin should have, could have, would have won in 2013 if the refs didn’t mentally leave the game in the closing seconds. But still, there’s something to be said about Midwest teams traveling to the desert. This stat is hardly a fluke – it’s an indication of how different playing in the dry, 100 degree heat can be three time zones away.


The number of offensive linemen combinations MSU rolled out against Utah State.

As Stephen Brooks of 247Sports pointed out, most of that was the starting unit that included Luke Campbell, who was replacing injured left tackle Cole Chewins.

The offensive line is (arguably) the position group that needs to make the biggest jump this Saturday. It would be nice to see A) continuity within the group and B) Cole Chewins back (Dantonio mentioned he is practicing this week, for what it’s worth). I wouldn’t complain about C) Both A and B.

1 Gambling Pick

The line: MSU -6, O/U 53

Pick: Over

Folks, I’m going to cherish this 1-0 feeling. If we go 2-0, I might just retire and take my winnings to some tropical island.

Ahh, who are we kidding. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Anyway, I’m not touching this spread with a 100 yard pole. MSU is the better team, but there’s too many elements that make me confident in saying that MSU will cover. I could see them losing by 10 as easily as I can see them winning by 20.

However, I think this will be a shootout. When the bodies start wearing down in the heat, the offense is the unit that will thrive. Even if everyone is feeling great in the fourth quarter, I still think the offense will own this game. (Record: 1-0)


What’s your lock for MSU vs. ASU?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    MSU -6
    (128 votes)
  • 16%
    ASU +6
    (78 votes)
  • 44%
    Over 53
    (206 votes)
  • 10%
    Under 53
    (50 votes)
462 votes total Vote Now