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Game Preview: Michigan State Spartans vs. Maryland Terrapins

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan State football program hits the road this weekend to travel to College Park for a Big Ten East showdown with Maryland. Saturday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time kickoff and will be broadcast on FS1.

Michigan State enters the contest on a two-game losing streak and stands at 2-2 overall on the season, including an 0-1 mark in Big Ten Conference play. Maryland comes in at 3-1, following a close loss at Michigan, and is also 0-1 in the conference.

Maryland is a 7.5-favorite in this game, according to the DraftKings Sportsbook. Can the Spartans turn things around and get a road win over the Terrapins? Let’s preview the matchup.

Tale of the Tape

Michigan State:
2022 Record — 2-2 (0-1 in Big Ten)

2022 Offense (per game averages) — 382.80 total yards, 248.5 passing yards, 134.3 rushing yards

2022 Defense (per game averages) — 392.55 total yards allowed, 265.25 passing yards allowed, 127.30 rushing yards allowed

2022 Cumulative Points Scored: 122 (30.5 ppg)

2022 Cumulative Points Allowed: 86 (21.5 ppg)

Current SP+ Ranking: 35th

2022 Record — 3-1 (0-1 in Big Ten)

2022 Offense (per game averages) — 473.55 total yards, 299.75 passing yards, 173.80 rushing yards

2022 Defense (per game averages) — 409.75 yards allowed, 260.25 passing yards allowed, 149.50 rushing yards allowed

2022 Cumulative Points Scored: 148 (37.0 ppg)

2022 Cumulative Points Allowed: 92 (23.0 ppg)

Current SP+ Ranking: 30th

Series History/All-Time Records

All-time head-to-head record: Michigan State leads 10-2
Current streak: Michigan State has won the last four games
Last Michigan State win: Nov. 13, 2021 (40-21)
Last Maryland win: Oct. 22, 2016 (28-17)
Michigan State all-time record: 723-474-44 (.600)
Maryland all-time record: 664-615-43 (.519)

Uniform Watch:

Michigan State:

The all-white, green-accented “stormtrooper” look makes a second appearance this season (it was also used on the road versus Washington), although the helmets are slightly different this time around with a white face mask instead of green.

The white helmets have a green stripe down the center, along with the green Spartan head logo on the sides. The jerseys are white with green lettering and numbering, while the pants are also white.

A closer look:


Maryland will go with a throwback look and rock the script “Terps” helmets. The helmets are red with white lettering and black and white stripes down the middle. I still haven’t seen the full uniform, but with Michigan State wearing all white, expect Maryland to wear red tops (with what looks to be white, gold and black stripes) and red or white pants.

Previous Game Results

Minnesota 34, Michigan State 7

Despite being back at home, it was another brutal game for Michigan State, as Minnesota dominated this game from the opening whistle.

The Golden Gophers opened the game with a touchdown on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a two-yard touchdown run from running back Mohamed Ibrahim. It was 7-0 Minnesota early.

Michigan State then proceeded to go three-and-out on its first possession, which led to another touchdown for Minnesota on the ensuing drive. Quarterback Tanner Morgan hit wide receiver Daniel Morgan for a 23-yard score to give the Gophers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Minnesota added a field goal in the second quarter to go up 17-0, and continued to shut out MSU by the time halftime hit.

The Spartans finally moved the ball to open the second half, getting down to the Gophers’ 6-yard line, but quarterback Payton Thorne fumbled on first-and-goal, which was recovered by Minnesota.

Twelve plays later, the Gophers found pay-dirt once again, as Morgan connected with tight end Nick Kallerup. Minnesota took a commanding 24-0 lead in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Morgan found Jackson for another touchdown, and Minnesota also added another field goal. The Gophers led 34-0 with less than three minutes to play in the game.

The Spartans finally got on the board when backup quarterback Noah Kim entered the game and threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to true freshman wide receiver Germie Bernard. But it was far too little, too late.

Minnesota won by a final score of 34-7.

For more on Michigan State’s loss to Minnesota, read our full game recap and check out postgame quotes from head coach Mel Tucker and various Michigan State players.

Michigan 34, Maryland 27

Maryland went into Ann Arbor and put a scare into Michigan, but eventually lost a close battle.

Disaster struck early for the Terrapins, as the opening kickoff bounced off of Tai Felton’s face mask, and the ball was recovered by the Wolverines at Maryland’s 10-yard line. One play later, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy hit tight end Luke Schoonmaker for a touchdown to make it 7-0.

Maryland would answer with a field goal on its next drive to make it 7-3. Michigan then matched that effort to take a 10-3 lead. On the ensuing possession, the Terps found the end zone for the team’s first score on the day, as running back Antwain Littleton III scored from two yards out. That made it even at 10-10.

In the second quarter, the Terps added another field goal, and took a 13-10 lead. Then, with under a minute to play before halftime, Michigan running back Blake Corum broke a 33-yard run into the end zone. The Wolverines led 17-13 at the break.

The third quarter went scoreless, but the fourth quarter provided plenty of action. McCarthy found wide receiver Roman Wilson on a 20-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolverines up 24-13.

Maryland responded with a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to Felton, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 24-19.

Michigan tacked on a field goal to go up 27-19 with 6:43 to play. Two plays later, Tagovailoa was intercepted by Michigan defensive back R.J Moten. The Wolverines capitalized on the turnover, as Corum took it 47 yards to the house and gave UM a 34-19 lead.

Maryland scored again, as Billy Edwards Jr. (in for a banged up Tagovailoa) found tight end CJ Dippre for an 18-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was good, and Michigan’s lead stood at 34-27 with 44 seconds remaining. But the Wolverines would get the ball back and run out the clock.

Key Matchups

Taulia Tagovailoa/Maryland wide receivers vs. Michigan State secondary: Until the defensive backfield can prove otherwise, the passing defense remains the biggest concern for Michigan State. That is especially true this week against Tagovailoa and a Maryland passing attack averaging about 300 yards per game and ranking 23rd in the nation. The Michigan State defense allows about 265.3 passing yards per game (tied for 101st in the FBS), but has allowed an average of 332.5 yards per game in the last two contests against Minnesota and Washington. As mentioned, Tagovailoa was banged up last week against Michigan and is a “game-time decision.” It seems more likely than not that he will play, but he may not be at 100 percent. There also looks to be a strong chance of rain and wind in College Park on Saturday. Maryland’s passing attack may not be as strong due to the elements and Tagovailoa’s health.

Jalen Berger/Jarek Broussard/Michigan State offensive line vs. Maryland defensive front: After a strong start to the season, Berger and Broussard have been non-effective in the past two games as the offensive line has struggled to open up holes in the running game. In the past two games combined, MSU has rushed for 80 yards (40 yards per game). This could be a get-right game on the ground for the Spartans, as Maryland gives up nearly 150 rushing yards per game and is tied for 77th in the nation in the regard. The Spartans need to have success in the running game — especially if conditions are sloppy — to come away with a road win.

Michigan State pass rush versus Maryland offensive line: Michigan State has not registered a single sack in each of the past two games. Despite this, the Spartans are still tied for the Big Ten Conference lead at 12, but that is only because MSU feasted on Mid-American Conference foes, Akron and Western Michigan. Maryland has given up seven sacks this season, which ranks toward the middle of the pack in the conference. While Tagovailoa is a pass-first quarterback, he can also be dangerous on the run, so not only is it important to get pressure on him, but MSU also needs to keep him contained. Linebacker/defensive end Jacoby Windmon and the rest of Michigan State’s pass rush will need to be alert and active in this game, and make things difficult for Tagovailoa.

Game Info

Time: Saturday, Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time (kickoff scheduled for 3:35 p.m.)
TV Channel: FS1
Location: SECU Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Weather expectations: Rain showers expected, temperatures around 62 degrees, winds blowing northeast at around 11 to 13 miles per hour
DraftKings Line: Michigan State +7.5


It’s hard to predict how this one will go. For Maryland, the statuses of Tagovailoa and wide receiver Rakim Jarrett are up in the air. I would expect both to play, however. For Michigan State, the Spartans continue to deal with key injuries across the board, and the availability of safety Xavier Henderson, defensive tackle Jacob Slade, defensive end Jeff Pietrowski, defensive end Khris Bogle and others remains uncertain.

The weather can also play a huge factor in this one, as the effects of Hurricane Ian could potentially travel up to College Park. Regardless, wind and rain are both in the forecast. That will likely slow down both offenses, but also puts extra pressure on defenses since the offenses know where the plays are designed to go.

Both defenses have struggled, with both units giving up over 392 yards per game. MSU’s defense, believe it or not, ranks quite higher than Maryland’s in SP+ rankings (MSU is 50th and Maryland is 66th in that category). So, maybe it is a bit naive, but I see the Spartans having a much more productive day on offense (if the weather doesn’t derail the unit).

This is a must-win game for Michigan State. Already with two losses, including one in conference play, another defeat could absolutely derail MSU’s hopes for a bowl game with a brutal stretch of the schedule upcoming. However, Maryland is a much-improved team this year, and one would imagine Tagovailoa (if healthy) and the Maryland offense will feast on Michigan State’s secondary.

I expect a close, relatively high-scoring game, depending on what Mother Nature has to say about the field conditions.

For additional information on Maryland, please read our “Get to Know the Opponent” piece and check out our “5 Questions with Testudo Times” article.


Will Michigan State beat Maryland on the road?

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