Michigan State vs. Utah State fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Friday, August 31
Game Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Michigan State (0-0) vs. Utah State (0-0) Game Preview
Last season, Utah State started out the season against a Big Ten team on the road.
It didn’t go well.
The Aggies turned out to be better than the 59-10 final score against Wisconsin, but they’ve had issues over the years against Power Five teams.
Between Wisconsin and Wake Forest last year, USC in 2016, and Washington and Utah in 2015, Utah State has lost its last five games against P-Fivers by a combined score of 205 to 58.
Not counting BYU, the last time Michigan State lost to a Group of Five program? The Butch Jones-led Central Michigan powerhouse of 2009 took down the Spartans in early 2009.
This year’s Michigan State team is loaded, but with road games against Arizona State and Indiana up next, getting by Utah State with ease would be a plus.
Especially with Central Michigan coming up on September 29th.
One Reason Why Utah State Will Win
Under Mark Dantonio, in general, the Spartans don’t usually come out roaring. They win, and they usually destroy the FCS teams, but over the last six years, the team uses the early paycheck games as true tune-ups.
Bowling Green was miserable last season, but the Spartans went through the motions in a 35-10 win before beating an overmatched Western Michigan by 14. The Aggies should be able to keep this close with a defense that returns nine starters.
As long as the defensive front three can hold up – it has the size as well as the experience – the excellent linebacking corps should keep the Spartan ground game from taking over. However …
One Reason Why Michigan State Will Win
The experience and bulk might be there for the Utah State defense, but it still has to prove it can actually stop a good ground game.
As long as the Spartans don’t turn the ball over – the Aggies were fantastic at getting the ball back last season – they should be able to rumble for at least 200 yards and control the clock.
This is the game to get the offensive line into a lather after struggling to keep defenses out of the backfield, and it’s the game to get the ground game going after averaging a pedestrian 168 yards per game.
What’s Going To Happen
Don’t get hung up on Michigan State not looking like a world-beater right out of the gate. Again, the program does that on a regular basis to start out seasons.
It’ll be a struggle for a while, and then the game will break open in the fourth quarter. The Utah State defense might do its job, and MSU won’t take any chances, but the Spartan D will be terrific, too.
The Aggie offense won’t be efficient or effective enough when it has its chances to potentially take over the game, but the bigger problem will be the turnover margin. Utah State lived off of that last year, and it won’t win it in East Lansing.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Michigan State 35, Utah State 10
Line: Michigan State -23.5, o/u: 49.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2
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