Multiple Spartan Suspensions After Michigan Tunnel Brawl
So, not only are the Michigan St. Spartans and Illinois Fighting Illini heading in different directions, the two programs are also in different positions than they were a year ago.
MSU ended the 2021 season on a high, ranked No. 9 and with a rallying win over Pittsburgh at the Peach Bowl. It finished third in the Big Ten East, with an overall record of 11-2.
The 2022 season hasn’t worked out at all in East Lansing, as the Spartans are 3-5, and last in the Eastern Division with a 1-4 conference record.
MSU’s struggles were amplified with an ugly altercation in the Michigan Stadium tunnel with the Wolverines. Now, eight Spartans have been suspended indefinitely, three of those players starters on defense.
Illinois has had the opposite experience. It missed out on a bowl game in 2021, having finished 5-7 (fifth in the Big Ten West).
The Illini now lead the East with a 4-1 conference record, 7-1 overall, Illinois and Michigan St. have all but switched places, as well as divisions.
Spartans’ Slide Continues
The loss to rival Michigan last week was Michigan St.’s fourth of its last five games.
The Spartans took a 7-3 lead over the Wolverines after the first quarter of play. That was before the Wolverines ran the final 26 points en route to a 29-7 win at the Big House.
MSU’s struggled offensively and defensively, ranking near the bottom of the Big Ten on both sides of the ball.
Against Michigan, the offense managed just 252 yards, substantially worse than its 336.9 per game average this season. That’s bottom-three in the conference, while their 24.8 points per game is in the bottom five.
The Spartans held Michigan under their season yardage and points average, but couldn’t contain a Wolverine run game which amassed 276 yards.
Michigan St. ranks in the bottom two in the conference in yards allowed, having surrendered an average of 424.9 yards. Its 27.4 points allowed is in the bottom four.
MSU will need to improve if it’s to stay with a streaking Illinois team.
Fighting (and Streaking) Illini
Illinois has continued to win, the Illini’s 26-9 victory over Nebraska its six in a row.
The Illini’s top defense as well as top rushing game have both aided its success.
Nebraska was the fifth foe Illinois held to single digits this season, as the Illini’s 8.9 points per game allowed leads the nation.
Illinois also leads the nation in yards (not) allowed, with opponents averaging just 224½ a game.
While the defense does a strong job limiting opponents, the Illini offense ranks in the middle of the Big Ten. Averages of 409.8 yards and 26 points a game are seventh and ninth, respectively, in the Big Ten. However, their 197.6 rushing yards a game is third.
Running back Chase Brown leads the nation (1,208 yards), with five touchdowns.
It’s the combination of a strong defense and solid ground game that should continue propelling Illinois to success.
Michigan St. vs Illinois Injury Report
Michigan St. vs Illinois Head-to-Head
Michigan St. and Illinois have met 46 times to date. MSU is leading the series, 26-18-2. Illinois won the last game, 37-34, in November of 2019 on the road.
Michigan St. vs Illinois Game Information
- Game: Michigan St. (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) vs Illini (7-1, 4-1)
- Day/Time: Saturday, Nov. 5th, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
- Michigan St. vs Illinois Live Stream: ESPN
Michigan St. vs Illinois Betting Lines
Michigan St. vs Illinois Prediction
Michigan St. is in need of a win. However, the Spartans were unable to do anything with Michigan running back Blake Corum last week. He ended with 177 yards (one touchdown). Michigan St. should have the same issue against this offense, especially with eight defensive players suspended indefinitely.
Illinois has both the No. 1 rusher and No. 1 defense in the country, and with the game in Champaign, it will be a tough team to beat.
The Illini should get their seventh win in a row, covering against the reeling Spartans.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are listed at -700 in our Vegas lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Fighting Illini, you have a chance to win $14. The Michigan St. Spartans are +500, offering a chance to win $500 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Illinois Fighting Illini a 87.50% chance to win, with the Michigan St. Spartans at 16.67%.