Saturday afternoon on the college gridiron and we will see a pair of teams from the Big 10 square off as the Illinois Fighting Illini grapple with the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. These teams last met back in 2016 and the Illini won that game at home by a score of 31-27. Illinois is 5-4 overall, including 3-3 in league play, while Sparty is 4-4 overall and 2-3 within the Big 10.
Illinois Looks For 4th Win In A RowThe Illinois Fighting Illini had a rough start to their year as they went just 2-4 through their first six games, but then they upset Wisconsin at home and followed that up with two more wins. Illinois will now be looking for their 4th win in a row and at the same time secure bowl eligibility. That would be quite a feat for a team that had won a total of nine games in the last three years. It has taken some time but Lovie Smith is turning the program around but can they keep it going in this one against a Michigan State team that is normally tough at home? Keep reading to find out. The defense has steep up of late as the Illini have allowed just 13 ppg after giving up at least 40 points in each of their three conference games. They hope to keep it rolling on that side of the ball and will be facing a Michigan State squad that is 110th in the nation in scoring, putting up just 21.8 ppg.
After three straight wins in the Big Ten, @IlliniFootball is 5-4 (3-3) — and senior RB Reggie Corbin (@JuicedUpReg) is really happy he came back for one more year under @LovieSmith pic.twitter.com/eF86uMM2yI— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) November 5, 2019
The offense for the Illini has been better of late as they have averaged 28.6 ppg over their last three games but this will not be an easy task for them as the Spartans have a top-notch defense. Michigan State is 21st in yards allowed and 33rd against the pass while the Illini are 114th in total offense and 115th in passing. They are a mediocre 69th in rushing, but Sparty is 25th against the run. Brandon Peters calls the shots behind center and he threw for just 120 yards with a TD and NO INTs against a bad Rutgers' defense last week. Reggie Corbin will be looked upon to have a solid game as he leads the team in rushing with 577 yards, but it is not easy to crack the Michigan State run defense. He had 51 yards last week as a part of Illinois' 204 yards rushing game against the Scarlet Knights. They will not get 204 yards in this one. The win streak that Illinois is on is their longest since 2011.
Sparty Looks To End Three-Game SlideThe Michigan State Spartans were expected to have a solid season this year and even contend for the Big 10 Title. Well, that has not happened and they come in having lost their last three games in a row to fall to 4-4 overall, including 2-3 within the Big 10. I did an article on the Northwestern/ Purdue game and that Wildcat offense has been pathetic of late, having scored just six points in their last three games. The Michigan State offense hasn't been as bad but it hasn't been far off as they have notched a total of 17 points during their three-game slide. Now, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that the three defenses they faced were Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State, who all have been strong on that side of the ball. Still, they will be facing a defense that has been hot of late. Sparty is 108th in total offense, 64th in passing, 118th in rushing and 110th in scoring, putting up just 21.8 ppg.
They will be facing an Illini defense that has allowed just 13.0 ppg and 321.3 ypg over their last three games. In their last game, Sparty lost 28-7 to Penn State and they had just 269 yards of total offense in the game. Brian Lewerke threw for just 165 yards and an INT with no TDs in the contest He has not been very good this year, hitting just 56.1% of his passes for 1761 yards with 11 TDs and four INTs. The Spartans need so much more from him especially since their ground game is so bad. Elijah Collins leads their ground game with 545 yards while Lewerke is 2nd with 169. A better run game would help this offense immensely and they will be facing the 96th ranked run defense in the nation.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Illinois is:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight-up win of more than 20 points
- 13-28 ATS in their last 41 games following an ATS win
Michigan State is:
- The Favorite is 9-2 ATS the last 11 games in this series
- 5-1 ATS their last six home games in this series