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TOC Staff Picks: Akron vs. Michigan State

Can the Spartans take down another MAC school to move to 2-0?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State took care of business in Week One against Western Michigan, earning a 35-13 victory. Another MAC team rolls into East Lansing for Week Two, as Akron enters with a 1-0 record after defeating Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) in overtime.

The Spartans moved up to No. 14 in this week’s AP poll and come into the game as nearly five touchdown favorites. The Spartans will try to avoid looking ahead to a major showdown at Washington next week.

Our writers weigh in on if Akron has a chance to stun the Spartans in East Lansing.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 52, Akron 10

This Akron team is really bad. I expect Michigan State to be up around 38-0 at halftime and for the backups and depth players to get plenty of run in the second half. Payton Thorne and the wide receivers have a field day in the first half, as do Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard in the ground game.

Kevin Knight

Michigan State 55, Akron 10

The Zips sure do make it difficult to justify the love James Franklin shines upon the program. Then again, perhaps it is fitting to struggle with that affection just like Matthew Frias’ character “Benny,” a student at Akron, struggles with his love for classmate Edmund Donovan’s character “Christopher” in the movie “Akron.” Expect the Zips to play as badly as the plot is in that movie, though. Michigan State rolls in this one while I am unable to watch the scoring explosion due to a wedding reception elsewhere in the mitten.

Brad LaPlante

Michigan State 49, Akron 3

Akron’s football program is in a very tough place. The Zips have won four total games in the last four years. In all honesty, this is no different from Michigan State playing an FCS school. Payton Thorne may not see any playing time in the fourth quarter and it may be up to Noah Kim and/or Katin Houser.

Paul Fanson

Michigan State 44, Akron 7

All signs point to a big win by the Spartans. With Akron picked to finish last in the MAC East and without the added motivation of playing against an in-state school, this one should be over pretty quickly. I am hoping that redshirt freshman quarterback Noah Kim (as well as several other news faces) gets more than one snap this time.

I don’t expect a shutout, but I do expect the Spartans to hold the Zips to single digits. I am hopefully optimistic that the pass defense will look better than it did in Week One. Deep down, I really just hope to see Akron’s kangaroo mascot Zippy. I mean seriously, marsupial-themed mascots are few and far between. Give the people what they want!

Zach Manning

Michigan State 45, Akron 10

Michigan State should take care of business in this one. Thorne bounces back and looks solid guiding the offense, while Berger has another breakout game on the ground. Defensively, Jacoby Windmon impresses again with three more sacks, as he anchors a strong defensive effort. MSU rolls into next week’s showdown with Washington at 2-0.

Brendan Moore

Michigan State 52, Akron 14

Akron will want to throw the ball around a lot. Joe Moorhead is its new head coach, so he will bring some offensive creativity. The Zips simply don’t have the talent to hang with Michigan State yet. They are in the early phases of their rebuild.

Look for Payton Thorne and the run game to have a field day against a defense that gave up 453 yards to St. Francis. This is the easiest game on Michigan State’s schedule. Expect them to win this game comfortably.

Amani Godfrey

Michigan State 48, Akron 14

The Spartans opened this week as 34.5-point favorites and the spread has stayed the same throughout the week for good reason. MSU faces the Akron Zips, who had an overtime battle with FCS Saint Francis Francis-PA a week ago. Despite the underwhelming performance a week ago from the Spartans, expect a laser-focused start to finish domination against the Zips as a tough test in Seattle looms large next Saturday against Washington.

Justin Walsh

Michigan State 45, Akron 13

After a game against Western Michigan that was truthfully a little too close for comfort despite the final score, the Spartans will show up against Akron. Payton Thorne will have a bounce back game and lead the offense to a solid showing, while the defensive issues created by the loss of Darius Snow and Xavier Henderson remain dormant, at least for another week.


Michigan State 51, Akron 10

Akron head coach Joe Moorhead leads the Zips in “Year 0” of a building process of one of the bottom-10 programs in the FBS Division. Akron not only is in transition, it has a roster with marginal talent. Since 2019, Akron has a 4-27 record with an average game score of 39-16 - and most of those opponents were MAC schools. In the last three games versus Power Conference schools, Akron has been out scored an eye-watering 161 to 20.

In my opinion the betting lines of 55.5 total points with a spread of 34.5 points (in MSU’s favor) are both surprisingly low. If MSU doesn’t cover the spread and approach the overall point total, I would be disappointed and a little concerned.

Some of The Only Colors staff will participate weekly in full conference picks, using Tallysight. You can keep up to date with our staff’s selections here.