COT Staff Pick: Michigan State Spartans vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights


Heading into the season, Michigan state fans were simply hoping to qualify for the bowl by the end of the 2021 campaign. Now the Spartans have the opportunity to hit that goal just six games into the season.

MSU comes into play around a five-point favorite against Rutgers. It’s hard to know what Rutgers really is. The Scarlet Knights looked strong to open the year, scoring three straight wins, but have since lost two Big Ten games to quality teams in Michigan and Ohio State.

The Spartans come into play after dominating Western Kentucky in a strong rebound game for the offense. Seeking to avenge last season’s loss at home, the Spartans are expected to fight.

Check out what our authors have to say about the “Keep Chopping” bowl:

Michigan State 34, Rutgers 24

This game really scares me on the road. Rutgers are no longer a laughing stock in the Big Ten, and the Scarlet Knights have a formidable defense. However, Michigan State isn’t going to offer Rutgers seven turnovers this time around like he did in 2020, and I don’t see the Scarlet Knights being able to match the Spartans’ offensive pace for four quarters. . Rutgers can limit Michigan State’s offense somewhat throughout the game and will keep things tight for more than three quarters, but I see MSU coming off in the fourth quarter, ultimately gaining around 10 points.

Michigan State 31, Rutgers 17

The Spartans face a tough defensive test again in this one. However, playing lessons have been learned by the coaching staff, and a revenge-focused squad is assembled to wash the spotlight on this seven-figure debacle from last season.

Michigan State 28, Rutgers 27

This is the week where we’re really going to start separating the contenders from the contenders for the Big Ten race. Rutgers is no longer a snap with head coach Greg Schiano back in town, but the Scarlet Knights have already shown they can’t keep up with Ohio State or even Michigan just yet. By comparison, the road trip to Piscataway will be a great reality check of where the Spartans stand.

I think Rutgers are pretty good, but the Spartans are a little better. Ultimately, I think last year’s loss in head coach Mel Tucker’s first year will provide just enough extra motivation for the Spartans to clinch a point victory. If MSU can win comfortably, the Big Ten East will have to take that into account.

Michigan State 27, Rutgers 16

I think Rutgers’ defense is better than it showed last week against Ohio State. Many teams are battling the Buckeyes’ offense and the Spartans aren’t quite up to it. Rutgers are pretty solid in a lot of areas, but MSU should still be able to move the ball fairly efficiently.

I think Payton Thorne and the offense are building an early lead, as the defense continues to fold but not break, holding the Scarlet Knights scoring goals instead of touchdowns. The Spartans head for Bloomington, Indiana undefeated.

Michigan State 25, Rutgers 19

These always seem to be pretty weird games when MSU takes on Rutgers, so let’s pin a weird score as well. Both defenses will keep the game in front of them and make it a field goal palooza in the red zone, keeping it closed all afternoon at Piscataway. Bold Prediction: Tre Mosley leads the team in catches and yards.

Michigan State 27, Rutgers 24

It’s going to be exhausting. Rutgers have a ‘run the ball and stop the run’ mentality and they are a very disciplined team. The Scarlet Knights are 15th in the country in terms of sales margin (plus five, coincidentally the same for the state of Michigan). Rutgers are also the second least penalized team in the NCAA in terms of yardage. That said, Rutgers is an ineffective running attack (just 3.8 yards per carry) and I think MSU has enough firepower to pull off an uncomfortably close victory.

Michigan State 28, Rutgers 20

It will be a pretty close game for the most part, MSU will take the lead in the second half and Rutgers will add a late touchdown to keep the score closer than it was. Michigan State’s offense should be able to put in enough to get the job done against a solid Rutgers defense, but I don’t see the Knights scoring enough to call. The Spartans go 6-0.

Michigan State 30, Rutgers 20

Aside from last week’s resounding loss to Ohio State, the Scarlett Knights have been solid so far and are at the end of their most brutal spell of the season. While MSU has been vulnerable at times this year, there’s little reason to believe the Spartans will catch a dud this weekend. I see Rutgers staying there for a bit, but the Spartans end up walking away.

Throughout the year, several TOC members will participate in Big Ten Choices using Aiming sight. You can follow these choices here:

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