No. 12 Michigan State Spartans (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Maryland Terrapins (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date and Time: Saturday November 15th, 2014. 8:00PM EST
Where: Byrd Stadium College Park, M.D.
TV: Big Ten Network
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MSU -12/MD +12
Over/Under Total: TBA
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The 12th ranked Michigan State Spartans suffered a setback last week with a 49-37 loss to Ohio State in East Lansing. The loss nearly guaranteed that Ohio State will take down the Big Ten Championship this year and also erased any outside hopes that Sparty may have had towards making college footballs inaugural playoffs. This week the Spartans look to regroup as they face the Maryland Terrapins inside Byrd Stadium for a primetime kickoff. This will be just the 6th meeting in history between both schools and the first meeting since 1950.
For coach Mark Dantonio, this may be redemption week for the Michigan State defense. The Spartans highly touted defense was shredded by Ohio State to the tune of 568 total yards and 49 points in the loss at home last week. The Spartans did not have an answer for the ground nor did the Buckeyes passing attack in what became a rather surprising disappointment considering the Spartans defensive reputation over the past few years. This week Michigan States defense looks to rebound against a rather subpar Maryland offense.
The Terrapins have sported some rather dreary numbers on the offensive side of the football. The offense ranks 69th in passing, 106th in rushing, and 63rd in scoring. Things have been so bad in the ground game that quarterback C.J Brown leads the team with just 311 rushing yards. The offense has been rather ugly all across the board with the potential exception of wide receiver Stefon Diggs. However Diggs, possibly the lone bright spot on the offense, was lost in last weeks 20-19 win against Penn State. The junior wide out suffered a lacerated kidney that will end his season. The injury is just one of many that have plagued the Terrapins this season and they must look for answers elsewhere in the coming weeks.
Despite the offense and injury woes this season, Maryland has still competed well in their first season in the Big Ten with a respectable 6-3 SU mark. Last week the Terrapins showed their fight in a tough win at Penn State. Before the game, both teams tangled in a little pregame conflict that had both teams heated by the start of the game. In fact, Maryland captains refused to shake hands during the coin toss which caught some attention around the media outlets following the game. Still despite being held to just 219 total yards, the Terrapins found a way to win in Happy Valley.
It is that type of grit and overcoming adversity with the injuries this season which gives Maryland a fighting chance this week despite being overwhelmingly outmatched on paper. I mentioned Marylands offensive concerns previously but the defense has not been overly impressive either giving up 28 points per game. The Spartans have been dynamic on the offensive side of the football averaging 44.6 points per game as the 6th best scoring unit in the FBS.
The Michigan State offense is surrounded by the big 3 between quarterback Connor Cook, running back Jeremy Langford, and wide receiver Tony Lippett. Langford has 978 yards on the ground this season with 13 touchdowns. Lippett is approaching the 1,000 yard receiving plateau and has 9 touchdowns through the air. Meanwhile, Cook has been fairly impressive as well hitting 60% of his passes for 2,226 yards with 19 touchdowns and 5 picks on the season. Therefore the Spartans should have plenty of weapons to attack this fragile Maryland defense this Saturday but will they be able to get the job done?
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Maryland has hyped this game with Michigan State all season and even labeled the game Blackout Sparty as the crowd will be in blackout attire. However, I am still not sure if that is going to work in Marylands favor. If this was a low key game following the Ohio State loss last week, Marylands chances would be a lot better. Now they are going to get the Spartans full attention and I do not think Maryland has the offense to keep this game considerably close. Take Michigan State -12