For the 106th time in history, the Michigan State football team will face their bitter conference and in-state rival, the University of Michigan Wolverines. The Spartans are looking to defeat the Wolverines for the fifth time in the last six years. Last year, Michigan pulled away with a close 12-10 victory to snap the four year Spartan winning streak.
The game has become more than just a simple rivalry game this season. After their victory of the Illinois Illini last week, MSU entered the national rankings this week. They are also still undefeated in conference play so far this season at 4-0, with a 7-1 overall record. Michigan sits behind in the conference rankings at 2-1 in conference play, and 6-1 overall. With another Big Ten victory, the Spartans will be one step closer to another appearance at the Big Ten Championship game, and possibly even a Rose Bowl invite.
After starting the season with numerous question marks n=on offense, the Spartans enter this weekend with confidence in their starters and play makers. Connor Cook will start again behind center. So far he has totaled 1.238 passing yards, completing 118-197 with 12 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Jeremy Langford has cemented himself as the starting running back for MSU. For three straight weeks now, Langford has posted over 100 rushing yards a game. He has amassed 655 total for the season, averaging 4.6 per carry and rushing in nine touchdowns.
The Wolverines have also had somewhat of a rocky offensive showing so far this year. Starting quarterback Devin Gardner has posted 1,779 passing yards, completing 1107-175 passes for 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Fitzgerald Toussaint is the leading rusher for the Maize and Blue. He has amassed 575 yards on the ground, averaging 3.7 a carry with 11 rushing touchdowns.
Now Gardner and Toussaint have to prepare for the Spartan defense, which is still the number one ranked defense in the nation through eight games. Nationally the Spartans lead the FBS in total defense (215.5 yards per game), rushing defense (54.9 ypg.) and first downs defense (12.8 pg.). MSU also ranks among the national leaders in pass efficiency defense (second with a 88.81 rating), opponent third-down conversions (third at 28 percent; 33-for-120), scoring defense (third at 12.3 ppg.) and passing defense (third at 160.6 ypg.). In addition, the Spartan defense has allowed just 3.55 yards per play, which ranks No. 1 in the FBS.
The game will be nationally televised on ABC network and will begin at 3:30 pm Eastern Time.
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