Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#159 Arizona State 45 vs.
#160 Michigan State -14.5
Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 4:00pm EDT
Soartan Stadium, East Lansing
Written by Chris Kubala

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#159 Arizona State University
#160 Michigan State University
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39
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A pair of Power Five programs take the field as the Pac-12 makes the trip to face the Big Ten in non-conference action from the Great Lakes State. The Arizona State Sun Devils make the trip east as they take on the #18 Michigan State Spartans Saturday afternoon. Arizona State sputtered their way to a 19-7 win at home over Sacramento State last Friday night. Michigan State trounced Western Michigan 51-17 at home last Saturday in their most recent contest. The Sun Devils lead the all-time series between the schools 2-1, including a 16-13 home win in the most recent matchup on September 8, 2018.

Arizona State Sun Devils Look to Go 3-0

Arizona State may be 2-0 but their win over Sacramento State hardly was awe-inspiring. The Sun Devils seemed relatively disinterested in the contest as they failed to reach the end zone until less than five minutes remained in the game. Arizona State had four drives that stalled in the red zone that ended in field goals prior to that. The Sun Devils held a 395-305 advantage in total offense and forced two turnovers while committing just one. Arizona State lost the first down battle 16-15 and the time of possession by a 30:53 to 29:07 margin in the contest.

The Sun Devils are averaging 294 yards per game through the air this season while they run for 131 yards per contest. Arizona State is 82nd in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 24.5 points per game and they stand 6th in scoring defense by allowing seven points per contest. Jayden Daniels has hit 32 of 51 passes for 588 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions: he has 38 yards and a score on the ground. Eno Benjamin is the team’s leader on the ground with 46 carries for 171 yards with Isaiah Floyd (11 carries, 47 yards) the next back in line. Brandon Aiyuk leads the team with eight catches for 236 yards plus a score. Benjamin (seven receptions, 126 yards, two TD), Kyle Williams (six catches, 49 yards) and Frank Darby (four receptions, 98 yards) are also options in the passing game. Christian Zendejas has hit all four extra point attempts and each of his seven field goal tries with a long of 40 this season.

“Well, obviously this week, playing one of the most established teams in college football,” said ASU head coach Herm Edwards. “When you think about the last, what, 25 years, probably I would say, they always seem to be in the top-20, top-25 in the rankings. And they’re very comfortable being in that role as a football team. Starts with their head coach [Mark Dantonio], tremendous football coach. Their DNA, they’re well-coached. Physical football team in all three phases of it, have played very good on defense, last couple weeks. Offense as well, we faced these guys last year, there’s seven guys I think coming back from the defensive side of it. And offensively, (senior) quarterback [Brian Lewerke] makes plays with his legs, they got some receivers that are big and physical, so they’re a physical football team. I mean, that’s the conference that they play in, and it’ll be a big test for us as we go on the road. First one on the road for us.”

Michigan State Spartans Try to Roll to 3-0 Start

Michigan State cruised past Western Michigan last week after downing Tulsa in their season opener to roll into this contest 2-0. The Spartans take a step up in competition this week as they have a Pac-12 team coming to town. Michigan State jumped to a 21-0 lead after the opening quarter and didn’t let their lead drop below 14 the rest of the way. The Spartans racked up a 582-352 edge in total offense, held a 31-18 advantage in first downs and forced three takeaways while recording a pair of giveaways. Michigan State dropped the time of possession battle by a 31:51 to 28:09 margin but it was hardly a factor in the contest.

The Spartans are averaging 263 yards per game through the air while racking up 179.5 yards per game on the ground this season. Michigan State enters the contest 33rd in the FBS as they average 39.5 points per game while the team is 21st in scoring defense by allowing just 12 points per game. Brian Lewerke is under center and has completed 44 of 69 passes for 506 yards with four touchdowns and one interception while adding 35 yards on the ground. Darrell Stewart Jr. completed his lone pass for 17 yards while Rocky Lombardi hit his lone throw for three yards. Elijah Collins leads the team with 25 carries for 209 yards on the ground: Connor Heyward (18 carries, 56 yards) and Anthony Williams Jr. (six carries, 35 yards) are next in line. Stewart Jr. has reeled in a team-leading 16 passes for 241 yards plus a score this season. Cody White (seven receptions, 81 yards, TD) and tight end Matt Dotson (five catches, 38 yards, TD) are next in line. Matt Coghlin has booted all eight extra point attempts and all seven of his field goal tries with a long of 47.

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This one is a matchup of two programs with early frontrunners for the Lou Groza Award, handed out to the nation’s top kicker. Both guys have hit seven field goals in as many tries in the first two weeks of the season. The difference here is that Michigan State has won both their games comfortably while Arizona State sputtered in their win over Sacramento State. The Sun Devils upset a ranked Michigan State team last season but that game was in Tempe. This one is in East Lansing and the Sun Devils are 2-4 on the road under Herm Edwards. Mark Dantonio sets the school record for wins by a head coach as he gets #110 as the Spartans prevail here.

Prediction: Michigan State Spartans -13

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Arizona State was less than inspiring against Sacramento State and that game was at home. The Sun Devils were unable to generate touchdowns as four drives in the red zone ended up in field goals. Given that the team was unable to put sevens on the board against an FCS team that was 2-8 last season and who gave up at least 41 points in six of those games, you have to be concerned for the Sun Devils. Michigan State has a tough defense that has given up a total of 52 carries for negative six yards on the ground so far could render Arizona State one dimensional. Can the Spartans come up with the victory at home here?

The under is 4-0 in the Sun Devils’ last 4 games following a straight up win, 5-1 in their last six overall, 5-1 in their last six after an ATS loss and 4-1 in their last 5 non-conference games. Michigan State has seen the under go 9-1 in their last 10 overall, 7-1 in their last eight on grass and 6-1 in their last 7 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. The teams stayed well under the number last season with neither team getting out of the teens: look for this to be another defensive struggle of sorts that falls short of the number.

Prediction: Under 45.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.