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Michigan State a multi-score underdog at Illinois in Week 10

The Spartans tough week has oddsmakers bullish on the Fighting Illini this weekend...

It's been a tough week for Michigan State football.

The Spartans were beaten soundly by their in-state rival Michigan, 29-7, in Ann Arbor, and the subsequent events in the tunnel at Michigan Stadium has not only been a major distraction but has cost the program multiple key contributors on defense.

On Sunday, opening lines for college football's Week 10 games were released, and Michigan State (3-5 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) opened as a 10-point underdog for their road trip to No. 16 Illinois (7-1, 4-1).

However, that line was released before any of the eight Michigan State players had been suspended indefinitely. Due to those suspensions, the line has increased dramatically, and the Fighting Illini are now considered a 16.5-point favorite over the Spartans.

Michigan State certainly has its work cut out this weekend, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. All eight suspended players play defense, including the Spartans' best player — three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Jacoby Windmon.

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Starting safety/nickleback Angelo Grose and starting defensive end Zion Young have been suspended, as have backups Itayvion Brown (defensive end), Khary Crump (defensive back), Malcolm Jones (cornerback), Justin White (cornerback) and Brandon Wright (defensive end).

Windmon has started all eight games between defensive end and linebacker and leads the nation with six forced fumbles. He also has a team-high 5.5 sacks among his 49 tackles, with 10.5 tackles for loss. Windmon also has an interception and a fumble recovery this season.

Defensive end depth has been a concern for much of this season, and it will only get worse for Michigan State now. The Spartans' have already been without Week 1 starters Khris Bogle and Jeff Pietrowski for several games, and now MSU will be without Windmon, Young, Wright and Brown for the foreseeable future.

Grose, meanwhile, recently moved from safety to nickleback for Michigan State, and the position switch was an improvement both for the team and the player. While the Spartans will still have starting cornerbacks Ameer Speed and Charles Brantley, as well as starting safeties Xavier Henderson and Kendall Brooks, depth in the secondary is now a major concern minus Grose, White, Crump and Jones.

Michigan State is three wins away from securing bowl eligibility with upcoming games against No. 16 Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana and No. 15 Penn State.