Predicting whether Michigan State, Michigan football remain unbeaten in road showdowns

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Free Press sports writers predict the winners of Michigan State football's game against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J., and Michigan's football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska:

Michigan State at Rutgers, noon, Big Ten Network

Chris Solari

Someone is going to keep choppin’ a little more Saturday, and the Spartans’ talent at the skill positions is significantly better than it was a year ago. Expect Kenneth Walker III to eclipse 100 yards for the fourth time this season and Payton Thorne to put up numbers comparable to Rocky Lombardi’s 319 yards and three scores from a year ago. Pick: Michigan State 27, Rutgers 20.

SCOUTING REPORT: Michigan State at Rutgers

Jeff Seidel

Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III, right, runs for a touchdown against Western Kentucky's Miguel Edwards during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich.
Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III, right, runs for a touchdown against Western Kentucky's Miguel Edwards during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich.

Rutgers climbed back in the game against Michigan when the Wolverines struggled to complete passes and had a string of three-and-outs. But the Spartans are far more multi-dimensional offensively than the Wolverines. And MSU has a far better offense than Rutgers. As long as Kenneth Walker III and Payton Thorne are doing there thing, these surprising Spartans will remain undefeated. Pick: Michigan State 31, Rutgers 20

LESSONS LEARNED: How MSU's emphasis on ball security ties to Rutgers loss last year

Rainer Sabin

The Spartans have ascended in Mel Tucker’s second season because they have played a sound, fundamental brand of football that was missing when they dropped the 2020 opener to the Scarlet Knights in ignominious fashion. Michigan State had seven turnovers in that defeat — four more than the Spartans have committed in five games this season. Their ability to minimize mistakes and capitalize on the errors of their opponents should carry them to yet another win. Pick: Michigan State 30, Rutgers 23

[ Why two players moved on from Michigan State football just as it took flight ]

Shawn Windsor

This is a battle of clichés, apparently, over who gets to use the phrase "chopping wood." So there is that. There is also a game involving a team that got demolished a week ago in Piscataway. Rutgers is well coached and solid, and if the Spartans aren't focused, they can lose. They will be. And they won't. Pick: Michigan State 27, Rutgers 20

STANDINGS: Big Ten football: Where each team stands in conference

Michigan at Nebraska, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) throws a pass during the first quarter Oct. 2, 2021 against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium.
Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) throws a pass during the first quarter Oct. 2, 2021 against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium.

Michael Cohen

There are still reasons to doubt this Michigan team despite five weeks of impressive football, but those are becoming harder to find. With their confidence soaring and more momentum than the program has had in years, the Wolverines will find a way to win against a very worthy Nebraska squad. Six up, six down for Jim Harbaugh. Pick: Michigan 30, Nebraska 27.

SCOUTING REPORT: Michigan vs. Nebraska

Jeff Seidel

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez will give the Wolverine’s defense fits and keep this close. But if the Wolverines follow the same formula — no turnovers, run the ball effectively, pass only when push has come to shove — they will win. But the Wolverines should beware: this team is tough. If Nebraska forces some turnovers or finds a way to stop the run, Michigan will be in trouble. Pick: Michigan 24, Nebraska 19

RED MEANS STOP: What Michigan must do to contain shifty Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez

Rainer Sabin

The Wolverines have passed every test so far. So, why doubt them now? Michigan plays a clean style of football that translates well on the road; it has committed the nation’s fewest turnovers with one and is second in the nation in sacks allowed with two. It’s much easier to place faith in Cade McNamara and Michigan’s offense than the Nebraska attack led by the mercurial Adrian Martinez. Pick: Michigan 27, Nebraska 24

Shawn Windsor

The Wolverines passed a test last week at Wisconsin. This week's test is tougher. The Cornhuskers have a better defensive front than the Badgers and a better quarterback in Adrian Martinez. If U-M can contain his read-options, it will win. They will. Just enough. Pick: Michigan 23, Nebraska 19

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Predicting Michigan football-Nebraska, Michigan State-Rutgers