2. Payton Thorne out-duels Taulia Tagovailoa
I’ve been one of the biggest Payton Thorne supporters over the past two years and I was all-in on him after his breakout game against Penn State back at the end of the 2020 campaign but I’ll be the first to admit that he has been bad this year. His numbers aren’t awful, but he’s been pressing way too much and it’s easy to do that when his favorite target is hurt and he’s down a touchdown before he’s even stepped foot on the field for the past two weeks.
The margin for error for Thorne against Washington and Minnesota has been essentially non-existent and one mistake has pretty much sealed the deal for his confidence and MSU’s hopes.
But he’s played solid defense for the past two weeks and, believe it or not, Maryland’s defense is actually worse than the Spartans’ through four games. The Terrapins allow over 400 yards per game and 260 through the air (MSU allows just under 400 total and 265 through the air).
That’s going to allow Thorne to have his best game of the season and out-duel one of the most prolific passers in the Big Ten in Taulia Tagovailoa. He’ll finish with over three yards and a couple of touchdowns while Taulia also has around 300 and a score with a pick or two — yes, the defensive backfield will make some plays.