If there is one surprise early in the 2021 season in the Big Ten, it’s Michigan State.
In Coach Mel Tucker’s first season in 2020, the Spartans went 2-5 in a strictly Big Ten schedule. The highlight of the season was a 27-24 win over the then-No. 13 Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Oct. 31, the second game of the abbreviated season.
But the 3-0 Spartans have turned it around this season, beating Northwestern on the road in the season opener, taking care of business in the second game against FCS opponent Youngstown State, then crushing Top 25 Miami on the road, 38-17, as underdogs.
Michigan State did not play this week’s opponent, Nebraska, last season.
Those taking part in Michigan online sports betting this week will want to see if the Spartans are for real.
Nebraska (2-2, 0-1) at Michigan State (3-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. (FS1)
No. 20 Michigan State will play host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-1) Saturday night in East Lansing.
Among the sportsbooks, Michigan State is a 5-point favorite with a -200 moneyline (DraftKings Michigan) and -210 (Caesars Sportsbook Michigan). The over/under total is 51.5 on both sites with Nebraska is a +170 (DraftKings) and +175 (Caesars) moneyline underdog.
The Spartans, who rank 11th nationally in rushing (263.7 yards per game), earned their first win over then-No. 24 Miami (Fla.), 38-17, last Saturday in Miami to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2015.
Michigan State sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne was 18-of-31 for 261 yards and four touchdowns and running back Kenneth Walker III had 27 carries for 172 yards to lead the Spartans against the Hurricanes. The Spartans are averaging 39.3 points and 520 yards per game, while allowing 17.3 points and 381.3 yards.
Nebraska Needs a Win
The Cornhuskers suffered a tough 23-16 loss against No 3 Oklahoma last Saturday.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 19-of-25 passes for 289 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while rushing for 34 yards and one TD.
Nebraska could really use a signature win against a Top 20 opponent for Coach Scott Frost.
Prediction: Nebraska has won the last two meetings and leads the all-time series, 9-2. This game is going to be close, but Nebraska’s defense has to be better than last week when it allowed 408 total yards and did not cause a turnover. Edge to the home team and to Walker for having another strong performance. Michigan State 31, Nebraska 21.
Other Games for Michigan Schools
Other games within the state of Michigan include:
Florida International (1-2) will visit Central Michigan (1-2) at noon, San Jose State (2-1) will visit Western Michigan (2-1) at 2 p.m. and Texas State (1-2) will visit Eastern Michigan (2-1), also at 2 p.m.