The battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy goes down this weekend, Oct. 29, at the Big House. Michigan and Michigan State meet for the 115th time for the first night game between the two since 2017. In that matchup, the Spartans upset the Wolverines 14-10 in the notorious monsoon game. Looking forward to this weekend’s matchup, #4 Michigan is a 22.5 point favorite against the Spartans, but MSU loves to have the underdog mentality. Will the highly-ranked Wolverines bring Paul back to Ann Arbor or will the Spartans increase their in-state winning streak to three games? Read on for predictions from The Collegiate Sports Department.
Pierson VanGorp: Diving into how the game will actually go, I believe the game will be closer than the experts think. Michigan will start the game hot by scoring on their first drive while keeping the Spartans on their heels. Michigan State will strike back later in the quarter tying the game at seven. After a few punts, Michigan will find the endzone to take a 14-7 lead right before half. The Spartans will come out of halftime fired up and will score immediately to tie the game up. Michigan’s offense will stall throughout the third quarter as MSU’s run defense comes up huge. Heading into the last quarter, the Spartans will lead 17-14. Michigan and MSU will exchange touchdowns to start the fourth quarter putting the game at 24-21. The Wolverines will get one of the last possessions of the game, and like they have all year, they will rely on Blake Corum and the running game. With the help of Corum, Michigan will score with under two minutes remaining. The Spartans will put together a promising drive towards the end but Michigan’s defense will get a huge fourth down sack to win the game. Michigan narrowly beats Michigan State 28-24. Michigan State’s Jayden Reed will have a monstrous impact scoring multiple touchdowns and having over 100 receiving yards. For the Wolverines, JJ McCarthy will throw for over 250 yards and two scores while DE Mike Morris will account for multiple sacks.
James Herold: Michigan State is certainly the underdog in this one. Last year they were ranked No. 8 against No. 6 Michigan in a back and forth battle where Michigan once led 30-16. FOX BIG Noon Kickoff and ESPN College Gameday provided the game and pregame analysis. Michigan State won that match up 37-33 with RB Kenneth Walker III receiving 23 CAR, 197 YD, and 5 TD. MSU went to 8-0 on the season after that thriller game.
Today, MSU is 3-4. It hasn’t been pretty for unranked Michigan State. Last week’s overtime win over Wisconsin proved MSU still has a good offense and defense despite getting blown out against Minnesota, 34-7. This game against No. 4 Michigan will be a statement game for MSU coach Mel Tucker, the statement being whether MSU is still the big boy on the block, and not “little brother,” a saying coined by former Michigan star and running backs coach Mike Hart. Both teams, despite record and ranking, always play this game with a fighting spirit. I have MSU winning 35-28. MSU QB Peyton Thorne will throw to his favorite receiver/former high school classmate Jaylen Reed for three or four touchdowns.
Nickolas Lyon: Last year Michigan State had a dream start, being unbeaten going into the big game against Michigan. This year is very different, without a true x-factor type player like Kenneth Walker III Michigan State’s glaring problems become much more clear. A poor secondary has proven to be a huge problem, and the offense has shown at times it can be highly effective however it lacks consistency. On the other side Michigan has picked up where they left off with a juggernaut run game led by a true Heisman contender in Blake Corum and a solid defense has them unbeaten going into a night game at home against Michigan State. I think because of the lack of x-factor type players for Michigan State I see them losing in a close game to Michigan. I think it will be closer than people think, these games tend to be a lot closer because of how hard the players play. I think the Michigan run game will slow the game down and be too much for the Michigan State defense to handle, however I think the Michigan secondary will have some problems dealing with the receiver duo of Jaylen Reed and Keon Coleman. In the end I think the score will be close to 31- 21 with Michigan getting the win.
Dylan Miesch: Heading into the big rivalry game, the 7-0 Michigan Wolverines are clearly the favorite over the struggling 3-4 Michigan State Spartans. Michigan currently has the best rushing attack in the Big 10 led by Blake Corum, that is coming up against a weak Michigan State defense, which I think will get blown out of the water by the running game. Even if State is able to stop the run game, Michigan’s quarterback JJ Mcarthy has been fantastic recently, throwing for over 300 yards in Michigan’s win over Indiana with over 70% completion rate. But you must remember this is a rivalry game and crazy things have happened in the past. In 2020 Michigan State had a terrible year, were 2-5 and still managed to beat Michigan. In the end I think it will come down to whether or not Michigan’s offense shows up and most importantly if JJ Mcarthy can lead the offense in a dominating fashion. My prediction is Michigan winning 38-17.