Both Michigan Big 10 schools are in action on Saturday, highlighted by Michigan State (2-0) visiting No. 24 Miami (1-1) for a noon kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
The Spartans had a nice road win against conference rival Northwestern in the season opener and followed up with an easy win in its home opener over Youngstown State last Saturday.
Sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne has been a surprise and has led the Michigan State offense in the first two games, but no one has surprised more than Wake Forest transfer running back Kenneth Walker III. Walker leads the conference and is ranked in the top five nationally with 321 yards on the ground, plus five touchdowns.
So far, Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King has struggled in his first two games: a blowout loss to Alabama in the season opener and a close home win against Appalachian State last week.
In two games, King — who is coming back from a torn ACL last December — has thrown for 379 yards, one TD and two interceptions.
Prediction: Michigan State has returned to its roots, a strong running game with a quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes and a defense that is holding its own. However, you get the feeling that Miami could break out in this game, if King can get back to his style of play. This will be another close contest and I think Miami’s defense will prevail in the end, giving Thorne fits all day. Miami (FL) 37, Michigan State 27.
Wolverines Face MAC School
Northern Illinois (1-1) visits the Big House and the No. 25 Michigan Wolverines (2-0) at noon on the Big Ten Network (BTN).
The Wolverines are a 26.5-point favorite with an Over/Under total of 54.5 at FanDuel Michigan.
It looks like Michigan has gone old school in its first two home games with wins against Western Michigan and Washington. It is working with a capable quarterback in Cade McNamara and a pounding ground game with the duo of Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.
In its season opener, Northern Illinois upended Georgia Tech on the road, but lost in a high-scoring 50-43 affair last week to Wyoming. Michigan State transfer Rocky Lombardi leads the Huskies offense, throwing for 369 yards total in his first two games.
Freshman running back Harrison Waylee leads the Huskies ground game with 53 carries for 323 yards and three TDs.
Prediction: Run, run, run will be Michigan’s mantra this week and McNamara will be just fine with it, throwing a couple of TDs for good measure. Michigan 49, North Illinois 14.
Other Michigan Schools in Action:
Western Michigan (1-1) visits Pittsburgh (2-0) for a noon game. At DraftKings, Pitt is a 14.5-point and a -650 moneyline favorite, with Western Michigan at +460 on the moneyline.
Eastern Michigan (1-1) visits Massachusetts (0-2) in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.