Two undefeated Big Ten East in-state rivals with multiple 2022 NFL Draft prospects battle it out for a leg up in the conference championship race.
#6 Michigan at #8 Michigan State 12 PM EST FOX
With all due respect to Penn State vs. Ohio State, this is the game of the year so far in the Big Ten. Both squads sport matching 7-0 records overall and identical 4-0 records in the conference.
Michigan State is a bit of an upstart and ahead of schedule on their rebuild while Michigan and their fan base have been clamoring for a year like this since Jim Harbaugh took over the program. This will be only the fifth time in the rivalry’s history that both teams are ranked in the Associated Press top 10 with Michigan State being 3-1 in those games.
The main differences between these teams are their defenses and their discipline. Led by 2022 NFL Draft prospects Aidan Hutchinson, Daxton Hill, and David Ojabo, Michigan is 8th in the country in yards allowed per game at 298.1. Michigan State is ranked 89th with 423.2 yards allowed per game. When it comes to penalties, Michigan State is among the worst in the country among FBS schools (117th out of 130) with 72.7 penalty yards per game. Michigan runs a much tighter ship, being penalized for 45.3 yards per game, good for 31st in the country. In a close game, those numbers will likely matter.
Michigan will be 4.5-point road favorites in this one, and these two teams have the top two rushers in the Big Ten. This will likely be an old-fashioned war won in the trenches on Saturday, reminiscent of clashes of the Big Ten’s past. Each team has multiple 2022 NFL Draft prospects that could have an impact at the next level, and we’ll start by looking at the Spartans.