After beating Washington a week earlier, the Michigan State Spartans begin receiving votes in the polls. The Green & White isn’t in the top-25 yet, but those who are watching know something is building in East Lansing. Next on the schedule, MSU hosts the Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten opener. Like our week 2 opponent, Maryland has the distinction of being the only university in the nation with its mascot; there are no other terrapins. Another fact that makes them unique, they are the only current B1G team to never win at Spartan Stadium as a member of the conference (Maryland did win in E.L. in 1950, which ended up being the last matchup between the teams until 2014). And that isn’t changing in 2023.
The revenge train continues for MSU as it kicks off its conference slate. Last year, Maryland’s win over the Spartans moved MSU below .500, a point they would return to only once but never get above. Judging by the Terps’ schedule, MSU is more likely to give them their first loss than to put them below .500, but that is because they open with 3 home games against Towson, Charlotte, and Virginia. But when they come to a place that has been most unhospitable to them since they joined the conference, things will get ugly for them very quickly.
After really finding their footing against Washington, the MSU defense officially announces that the No-Fly Zone is back in this game. In his final season in college, Taulia Tagovailoa will look more like the version of himself that couldn’t even throw for 100 yards in late season losses to Wisconsin and Penn State than the version that put up over 300 against the Spartans. Just like the school he plays for, he simply struggles in road games. He ends up with 150-175 yards but also throws a pair of interceptions and gets sacked four times.
On the other side of the ball, MSU relies on the run game more since they are not worried about having to put points up in a hurry. As this game falls on the Autumnal Equinox, we will see temperatures much lower than they were just a week earlier. Fans in the stands will be wearing coats or hoodies; t-shirt season is over. Hopefully, Spartan Stadium will have at least one IPA being offered; sipping on a watered-down lager won’t do the trick. On the field, the chill air will welcome some old-school smash-mouth football, and MSU’s blockers will have their way again grating through the Maryland defensive line.
It will be a low scoring affair, but one that felt like it was in MSU’s control throughout. The Spartans move to 4-0 and Spartan Stadium is electric as the fans stay until the final whistle to cheer on their team.
11 days until the season opener. I might have to run up to campus to buy some new MSU shirts.