Now Ranked, No. 20 Michigan State Football Favored In Home Meeting With Nebraska

Written By Matt Schoch on September 21, 2021

Get excited, Michigan State football fans. It appears you have a good football team in East Lansing. Even the Associated Press pollsters agree, slapping MSU with a No. 20 ranking this week before Saturday’s home game against Nebraska.

Coach Mel Tucker and the surprising Spartans appeared to take on a diminished but traditional power.

Like Michigan State in a 2-5 campaign last season, the Nebraska has certainly fallen on hard times lately. Thus, the Spartans entered the betting phase of this matchup as 5-point favorites.

Current best odds and a preview are below.

How to watch: Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan State Spartans

  • What: Nebraska (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 20 Michigan State (3-0, 1-0)
  • When: 7:10 p.m. ET, Saturday
  • Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
  • TV: FOX Sports 1 (Announcers: Aaron Goldsmith, Mark Helfrich)
  • Online livestream: FOX Sports App
  • Radio: Michigan State Football Radio Network (Detroit: WJR-760)
  • Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 83 (MSU)

MSU’s Kenneth Walker leads nation in rushing yards per game

Wake Forest transfer Kenneth Walker III is making an amazing early impression at his new school.

Walker leads Football Bowl Subdivision players nationally in rushing yards per game with an average of 164.3.

For starters, Walker rushed for 264 yards in the opener against Northwestern. On Saturday, Walker ran for 172 yards on 27 carries to help lift MSU to a 38-17 win at Miami. He’s rushed for at least a 24-yard carry in each of the season’s first three games.

Oddsmakers have noticed, as Walker was listed at +4000 on Tuesday to win the Heisman Trophy at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Payton Thorne fitting in quite nicely under center

It’s not just Walker looking good in his first season under the green and white spotlight.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne is managing the MSU offense quite nicely. In the win at Miami, Thorne completed 18 of 31 passes for 261 yards.

Thorne earned the co-offensive player of the week award from the Big Ten Conference after he became the second player in MSU history to throw four touchdown passes in back-to-back games.

Thorne joins Connor Cook in that distinction after Cook accomplished the feat in 2015.

Huskers coming off quality cover at Oklahoma

Nebraska covered a 22.5-point spread easily last week, falling 23-16 to No. 3 Oklahoma. The 23 points scored by the Sooners was the fewest for that program in five seasons.

Over the past three games, Nebraska has allowed just 33 points, its best three-game stretch in 11 seasons.

Offensively, quarterback Adrian Martinez has already thrown for more than 1,000 yards for the fourth straight season.

This will be the sixth time in school history and first time since 2016 that Nebraska will play consecutive road games against ranked foes.

Photo by Doug Murray/AP
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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