Michigan State (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) travels to College Park to take on Maryland (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) in a Big 10 game on Saturday at 3:30pmET from Maryland Stadium.
These teams met last season from East Lansing with MSU getting the win 40-21 as an 11.5-point favorite. Both teams lost their conference opener with the Spartans falling 34-7 at home to Minnesota, while the Terps lost but covered at Michigan 34-27 as a 17-point dog.
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What is going on with Sparty?Michigan State opened the season with two wins over MAC teams when they beat up on Western Michigan 35-13 and crushed Akron 52-0. Defensive problems arose in a 39-28 loss at Washington on Sept. 17 as they allowed over 500 yards of total offense. That was followed by a 34-7 loss to Minnesota at home as a 3-point dog where the defense and offense were a no-show. At one point, MSU was ranked 9th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and now they are gone.
“For me, it's not difficult to block out the noise. I think it's more difficult for the players, just because of experience,” head coach Mel Tucker said Monday to the Detroit Free Press. “We talked about it — we talked about it immediately after the game in the locker room, and then we talked about it again today. We'll continue to talk about that. But it's facing forward now. What exactly we say and how to do that, I'll just have to keep that in-house.”
They were never in the game against the Gophers as quarterback Tanner Morgan completed 23 of 26 for 268 yards and three TDs. Minnesota had possession for 42:29 as they were able to run for 240 yards. The Spartans ran for just 38 yards, but since they were behind early, they had to throw it most of the time. Payton Thorne was ineffective with 132 yards passing and two picks. He was replaced by Noah Kim, who completed 6 of 7 for 70 yards and a TD.
Thorne should be the quarterback again this Saturday, but he has to stop turning the ball over. He's been responsible for six of the team's eight turnovers in four games. In terms of defense? They've allowed 392.5 yards pe game and 265.3 yards in the air (102nd). The good news is that they can get to the quarterback. Thanks to 5.5 sacks from linebacker Jacoby Windmon (T-1st in FBS), the Spartans are tied for first in the Big 10 with 12 sacks.
Fewer penalties mean the Terps can compete with Big boysLast season, Maryland was smacked around by Michigan State (40-21), Penn State (31-14), Michigan (59-18), Minnesota (34-16), Iowa (51-14) and Ohio State (66-17). Most of those losses were a personnel issue, but some were just mistakes on the field, whether they were committing turnovers or penalties. For the most part, you can control penalties and after committing 15 against SMU at home in a 34-27 win, head coach Mike Locksley knew his team had no chance if they were going to commit double-digit penalties against a top-five Michigan team.
Taulia Dawgovailoa pic.twitter.com/J230KuNCTS— 𝒯erps Football (@TerpsFootball) September 25, 2022
The Terps had committed 31 penalties in the first three games to rank 130th in the nation.
“As a parent, you send your kids and they have a foundation of how you raised them. Sometimes they don't act in character, and what do you do, kick them out of your house? You punish them. So we handle punishments and we deal with it inside-out,” Locksley said earlier in the week to TestudoTimes.com. “People that have kids understand what it’s like to have them go out on the field and maybe play outside what you’ve trained them to do.”
The Terps put up 397 yards of offense against a very good Michigan defense, but two interceptions from QB Taulia Tagovailoa (207 yds, 1 TD) proved to be costly. Tagovailoa (ribs) is now considered a "game-time decision" along with star WR Rakim Jarrett (head). Tagovailoa leads the Terps with 1,102 yards passing with seven TDs and four picks. Roman Henby is a dangerous runner with 342 yards and three scores with 7.1 yards per carry. Jarrett leads a strong corps of receivers with 15 catches for 208 yards and one TD.
Defensively, Maryland has issues, especially in terms of pass defense as they allow 409.8 yards per game. They are much better on the ground, where they allow 149.5 yards per game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This line is mystifying. Maryland as more than a touchdown favorite at home against Michigan State? Will Tagovailoa play? He didn't play at the end of the Michigan game and was replaced by redshirt freshman Billy Edwards Jr., who wasn't bad, but he's thrown just 13 passes in his career. I know the Spartans were terrible last week, but the Terps are not Minnesota and their defense has many holes. The Wolverines were probably a bit overrated after playing three cupcakes early on. The pressure is on Maryland to win and that may happen, but it will be a very close one. Payton Thorne rebounds from a bad game last week.
Full-Game Total Pick
Check the weather closer to game time for this one, but right now, it looks like rain, and temperatures are expected in the mid 50's. That means a sloppy game and more running by both teams. That's not a great thing for either team's offense, but their defenses are much stronger against the run than the pass. Michigan State allows 127.3 yards per game on the ground and they average just 134.8 rushing yards. Last season was a rare over in this series where there have been six unders out of seven.