Michigan State In Penn State Toss-Up After College Football Playoff Knockout Blow

Written By Julie Walker on November 23, 2021
Michigan State Penn State Mel Tucker November 2021

Any last dreams of Big Ten Conference titles or College Football Playoff chances for Michigan State withered well before this Saturday’s regular-season finale against Penn State.

After Ohio State clobbered Michigan State 56-7 in Columbus last Saturday, that particular writing was on the wall.

That said, a premier bowl berth and rivalry trophy stay on the line in East Lansing this weekend. A Michigan State win over would also have historical significance for second-year head coach Mel Tucker.

And remember, based on preseason win totals, the Spartans have already wildly exceeded public expectations.

Can Michigan State regroup to stay perfect at home and bring the Land Grant Trophy to East Lansing again?

Penn State at Michigan State: NCAA Football Odds

The odds are close, and mostly in MSU’s favor

It could go either team’s way, at least according to the odds. As of early Tuesday, at least two Michigan sportsbooks had deducted points from the already nearly-even spread.

FanDuel Sportsbook gave Penn State 1.5 points to open but dropped that to a half-point by early Tuesday. The latest moneylines as of midday Tuesday are -108 for Michigan State and -114 for Penn State. The over/under is set at 51.5 points after opening a point higher.

DraftKings Sportsbook had knocked half a point off its opening spread to give the Nittany Lions a point. The moneyline is -110 for both teams and the over/under from DraftKings is now 51.5.

BetRivers Sportsbook opened early Monday with Penn State favored and stayed that way through early Tuesday, giving the Spartans 1.5 points and -106 on the moneyline. Penn State bettors get -115 on the moneyline. The predicted over/under sat at 52.

The over has hit in six Michigan State games this season, while it has hit just twice in Penn State contests. The Spartans and Nittany Lions have seven wins each against the spread.

How to watch: Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan State Spartans

  • Who: Penn State (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten) at No. 13 Michigan State (9-2, 6-2)
  • When: 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday
  • Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
  • TV: ABC (Announcers: Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath)
  • Radio: Spartan Media Network
  • Satellite radio: Sirius XM Channel 83

No. 4 Ohio State thrashes No. 7 Michigan State

It felt like Oprah Winfrey helped coach against the Buckeyes on Saturday, as everyone seemed to be given a touchdown in the 56-7 trouncing of the Spartans.

Dare we say that even (classy?) Michigan fans wanted the pain to stop? Ohio State went up 49-0 before the half.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud comfortably hit the bench by the third quarter after his explosive first half netted him six touchdown passes to tie a school record. The Buckeyes outmanned the Spartans in yardage, 655-224; first downs, 36-12; and had the ball for 37:58. But enough about the school down there.

Freshman receiver Keon Coleman’s touchdown allowed the Spartans to escape a shutout. He finished with three catches for 27 yards.

Payton Thorne completed just 14 passes on 36 tries and threw one touchdown pass.

Kenneth Walker III, playing on a sore ankle, had a mere six carries for 25 yards.

The game shined Stroud’s Heisman bid and dulled Walker III’s. At most Michigan sportsbooks, the Spartans rusher sits solidly in fourth place behind quarterback trio Stroud, Bryce Young of Alabama and Ole Miss’s Matt Corral.

BetMGM and DraftKings have Stroud’s odds at -200 and Young’s at +150. BetMGM has Corral at +160 and Walker III at +2200. FanDuel gives Corral +2200 and set odds for Walker III at +2800.

Penn State coasts past Rutgers on backup power

Penn State bounced back from a home loss to Michigan by blanking Rutgers 28-0. The ailing Nittany Lions relied on freshman quarterback Christian Veilleux after starter Sean Clifford left the game midway through the first quarter.

Clifford was among the approximately 35 players battling flu-like symptoms that week.

In his first college game, Veilleux went 15-for-24 for 235 yards and threw three touchdown passes. He was second in rushing for the team, adding 10 carries for 36 yards to his college debut.

Penn State put up first points just before halftime when Jahan Dotson caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Veilleux.

The Nittany Lions scored twice in the third quarter, including on a 67-yard connection from Veilleux to Malick Meiga.

Dotson finished with three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Keyvone Lee also scored and had 13 carries for 41 yards. Meiga’s score marked his sole catch.

History, oddsmakers say it’s anybody’s game

After 35 matchups, Penn State tied the series at 17-17-1 with wins in 2019 (28-7) and 2020 (39-24). The tie came on Oct. 23, 1948, when Michigan State disrupted a 14-game win streak for Penn State.

If the Nittany Lions win this year, the Land Grant Trophy stays put in Pennsylvania for a third straight year.

A Spartans win secures the hardware and gives second-year Spartans head coach Mel Tucker a place in the history books. A victory adds him to the handful of Michigan State coaches with 10 or more wins in a season.

Only Duffy Daugherty and Mark Dantonio have coached the Spartans to 10 regular-season wins. Daugherty did it in 1965 and Dantonio did it in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Counting bowl games, Nick Saban had 10 wins in 1999 and Dantonio can add the 2017 season to his list.

Photo by Jay LaPrete/AP
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Julie Walker

Julie has written, edited and designed words at five Michigan newspapers and websites. She’s worked on two sports desks, including at The Oakland Press and most recently at The Detroit News. Julie has contributed to stories on many big sports moments, from the NFL's 100th season to Super Bowls to Justin Verlander’s trade to the closing of the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Julie loves lakes, bonfires, Dachshunds, coaching Little League and carrying on her Dad’s fantasy football legacy that he started in 1987 — before there was an app for that.

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