Michigan State football is fresh off the bye with a trip to Piscataway, N.J., to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. While the season already will fall short of my expectations, a respectable 6-6 is still in the cards and it starts with this game.
It won’t come easy as the Spartans are currently 4.5-point underdogs (although the line started at 7-point underdogs).
Here are three things you need to know about the Spartans’ opponent.
1. This isn’t your older brother’s Rutgers team
Yes, ever since they joined the Big Ten, Rutgers has been the game that every other team looks for on their schedule and chalks up as an auto win.
While they are no threat to win the Big Ten East any time soon, they are 4-2 overall and is near the top of the conference in a lot of defensive categories. They are top five in sacks, top four in passing yards and completion percentage, and has allowed only four rushing touchdowns on the season.
On offense, they are no juggernaut, but better than the bottom-dwellers that we are all used to them being.
Breaking in a new quarterback is a tall task for the Spartans and if they want to win, they need success running the football. While Rutgers is near the top in pass defense, they are middle of the road in run defense. The bye is the perfect time to introduce some new techniques and schemes with plenty of time to rep it.