Michigan State again last week matched their best start since the 2015 season with a win against Western Kentucky improving their record to 5-0 as they head into the bulk of the Big Ten season.
Michigan State holds an all-time advantage in the Head-To-Head matchup against Rutgers 8-4 and since Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014, the Spartans are 6-1 losing for the first time last season 38-27.
That was the first game of the Mel Tucker era at Michigan State as well as the first game in the return of Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano who returned to the Scarlet Knights last season after coaching them from 2001-2011.
Rutgers has had a knack of getting to the quarterback quick early in the season ranking third in the Big Ten with 15 sacks on the season. Last season they forced five fumbles against Michigan State as well and set their offense inside scoring position multiple times. A key for Michigan State this week needs to be taking care of the ball and keeping the defense out of the backfield.
Rutgers is 10th overall in the Big Ten in rushing with a mere 148 yards per game. The longest run of the season was just a 26 yard rush and their top rusher Isaih Pacheco is just 14th in rushing in the conference. Rutgers has had a 100 yard rusher just once this season against Michigan and only exceeded 200 yards as a team once.
Players to know
The senior linebacker turned down a chance at the NFL last spring when he decided to return for his senior season at Rutgers. Fatukasi leads the team in tackles with 43 and 26 solo tackles. He also leads the teams in sacks with 3.5 already through five games. Last season in a shortened season Fatukasi had 101 total tackles with ten of them coming against Michigan State.
Vedral is back again for his senior season and his second year as the signal caller for the Scarlet Knights. Up until last week, Vedral was doing a great job of taking care of the football but then Ohio State picked him off three times which were his first three interceptions of the season. He has thrown for 914 yards through five games with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also done some damage on the ground as Rutgers second best rusher with 151 rushing yards including 71 against Temple on nine carries.
This is a game for Michigan State to show how far they've come from last season. We know they're better, most the country knows Michigan State is better but Michigan State needs to prove that and take care of business against a team that popped them last season.
Michigan State 37, Rutgers 17