By: Trent Pruitt
What were supposed to be tune-up weeks against Kent State and Sacramento State and bring some optimism to the desert did quite the opposite. Sure, the Devils enter Saturday’s contest at 2-0 but we would have loved to see a little more out of true freshman Jayden Daniels and the sputtering ASU offense.
Anyways, it’ll be the back half of a home and away between Arizona State and Michigan State in which the Sun Devils won a 16-13 thriller in Tempe last season.
Spread: MSU -14.5 (-110)
Over/Under: 42.5 (-110)
Kickoff: 4:00 EST, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Arizona State Sun Devils
Starting off with Daniels, the most important thing that came out of the first two weeks was no interceptions. He’s currently at a 3/0 TD/INT ratio and has racked up 588 yards on a 62.7 completion percentage. Not terrible at all, but when you are playing creampuffs, you would like to see those numbers inflated a little bit. As we know, the Sun Devils are getting away from the typical PAC-12 type of gameplay, they are now a run-first team that relies on defense. Eno Benjamin, a junior out of Wylie, Texas will get most of the workload against the Spartans. He’s gone for 171 yards for the season on 46 rushing attempts. That is good enough for only 3.7 yards per attempt but 72 of those yards came on one rush.
As I am a defensive guy myself, I applaud the work Danny Gonzalez has done in his 1+ year at State. So far this season his unit has only allowed 7.0 points per game which ranks 5th in the country. With the young linebacking core, they will be a force out west for a few years.
Michigan State Spartans
Similarly to ASU, Sparty enters with a defensive-first philosophy and more importantly, they execute that philosophy. According to ESPN, they rank 4th in defensive efficiency at 95.3. That is their “all-inclusive” rate of a defense that looks at things like scoring margin, garbage time TD’s, strength of schedule, and other statistics. In comparison, ASU ranks 28th in the nation with a score of 77.0. Mark Dantonio’s squad is led by Brian Lewerke at QB, a senior who has racked up 506 pass yards through the first two weeks. The run game is reliant on RB Elijiah Collins. The freshman out of Detroit had a field day against Western Michigan, going for 192 yards on the ground on 17 carries (11.3 ypc).
Analysis & Prediction
I was disgusted with the way the offense played in week 2 for ASU. There was no urgency in a game that you really wanted to be firing on all cylinders so you’re ready for this matchup. Michigan State on the other hand, restored faith in their fanbase by rolling Western Mich. last week by a score of 51-17. My first bet on this game is going to be the under on 42.5. Both of these teams boast strong defenses and they will be on display Saturday. Look for both teams to establish the run game and keep that clock moving. Secondly, I will be fading the Sun Devils this week. This game has all of the signs of a 21-0/28-7 beatdown of ASU. MSU has the edge at quarterback with the experience Lewerke brings to the table. We’ll pair that with the overall inexperience and size difference between the two programs and not to mention the homefield advantage that will give Sparty the edge. Unless the Devils are hiding some stuff up their sleeves, expect a rough outing for Eno Benjamin against a stout defense, forcing Daniels to make a lot of plays through the air. Buy a ½ point and take MSU at -14.
Trent’s Record on College Football Picks
1-2 (-1.09 Units). A $100 Bettor is down $109.
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