Michigan State Spartans -23 vs. South Florida Bulls
The season opening win for Michigan State came as expected, although that is not necessarily all good news for Spartans fans. On the plus side, Michigan State got the win in week one against in-state foe Western Michigan and the defense was as stingy as advertised. Michigan State’s defense actually outscored the offense – the Spartans returned two Western Michigan turnovers for touchdowns. On the downside, however, the Spartans looked as inept as ever on offense. Neither quarterback used by head coach Mark Dantonio was effective as Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook combined to complete just 17 of 37 passes.
As mediocre as Michigan State looked in their opener, South Florida would love to trade places with the Spartans. Head coach Willie Taggart’s first game as South Florida coach will most likely be his most embarrassing. After scoring early to take a 7-0 lead on Football Championship Subdivision school McNeese State, the Bulls surrendered 40 consecutive points before the final tally saw McNeese State roll to a 53-21 blowout win. Not exactly the best way to convince season ticket holders that Taggart is the man for the job. It doesn’t look to get any better for South Florida as they travel to East Lansing this Saturday. The Bulls’ quarterback duo of starter Matt Floyd and his backup/replacement Bobby Eveld combined to complete 19 of 40 passes against McNeese State. This week they’ll try to improve against one of the top defenses in the country.
What will happen: Michigan State will have a hard time putting up points on anyone with a pulse this season, but with a defense built like a Mack Truck, they won’t have to score a lot to win. The Spartans’ recipe for success against subpar opponents is to run the ball, limit turnovers on offense and let the defense be the hero. That was the case in the opener and should be the same game plan against South Florida.
South Florida’s confidence has to be shaken after a home blowout to an FCS school had the hometown fans booing the team off the field. The last thing the Bulls need is to play against a physical defense that thrives on imposing its will against opponents.
Michigan State’s defense will rise to the occasion again. Mark Dantonio will likely keep things simple on offense while trying to figure out the better of their two quarterbacks. This should limit turnovers normally caused when the offense is pressing and needs to put points on the board. South Florida won’t be able to move the ball consistently enough to get enough scores to stay in the game and the Spartans’ defense rarely gives up the big play. Expect another ugly offensive performance from the Bulls.
Prediction: Michigan State 38 South Florida 6
The Play: Michigan State -23.5
2013 Pick Record ATS: 3-0