Date/Time: October 26, 2013 3:30 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: Michigan State -10
The Michigan State Spartans offense had trouble getting going early in the year, but the defense has been dominating all year long. Michigan State enters this Big Ten contest with a 6-1 record overall, and they are 3-0 in the Big Ten. Illinois has already won more games than they did last year. The Fighting Illini enter this one with a 3-3 record. They are 0-2 in the Big Ten.
The Michigan State Spartans have the nation’s number one ranked defense. The Spartans are giving up only 227.4 yards per game this year. They have only allowed more than 17 points in a game once so far this year. Opponents are rushing for just 58.6 yards per game against this great front seven. Mark Dantonio’s defenses have been elite for the last few years, but this looks like the best unit he has had. The Spartans have allowed only 20 points total in the fourth quarter of their first seven games this season.
Offensively, things have been a major struggle for Michigan State this year. It looked as if the offense had turned the corner, but last week’s 294 total yards against a bad Purdue team is making everyone doubt that yet again. Connor Cook hasn’t been making many mistakes at the quarterback spot, but this team is lacking play makers on the outside and they aren’t getting any big pass plays. Jeremy Langford is averaging 4.6 yards per carry in the backfield, but the top teams in the Big Ten are going to load up the box against the Spartans. Michigan State is 95th in the nation in total offense.
Illinois went 2-10 last year, so their 3-3 record this season is an improvement, but the meat of the schedule is now on the way for Illinois. The Fighting Illini must face Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana, and Ohio State in their next four games. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is having a much better season than he did last year. Scheelhaase is completing 66% of his passes and has 12 touchdowns and just four picks. Illinois doesn’t have much of a running game, so they are very dependent on being able to throw the football. The offensive line will get a big test in this game, since the Spartans defensive front is among the best in the nation. Illinois is averaging 35.3 points per game.
The Fighting Illini defense is once again one of the worst in the Big Ten. Illinois gave up 56 points in last week’s loss to Wisconsin at home. Illinois is allowing 32.3 points per game so far in 2013. How bad have things been for Illinois against the rest of the Big Ten? The Fighting Illini haven’t won a conference game since October 8, 2011. At 16 straight losses, they are now at the sixth longest losing streak in Big Ten history.
Free Pick: Michigan State -10
The Spartans defense will carry them here. Michigan State’s offense should be good enough against an Illinois defense that will give up yards and points to everyone. Michigan State is in a much better place than Illinois right now.
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