The Associated Press
Michigan State (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 7 Michigan (4-0, 1-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
Line: Michigan by 13.
Series record: Michigan leads 69-35-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Wolverines want to win two straight games in the rivalry for the first time since winning six straight from 2002-07, and to keep their hopes high for Big Ten and national championships. The Spartans have won seven of the last nine matchups with Michigan, and have a chance to show they are still in control of the series even in what was expected to be a rebuilding season.
Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke against Michigan’s defense. Lewerke has completed 63 percent of his passes for 963 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He has run nearly 10 times a game and leads the team with 248 yards rushing. Lewerke will need to make plays through the air and on the ground, taking advantage of Michigan’s defensive backs running down the field in man-to-man coverage. The Wolverines haven’t allowed a team to score in the fourth quarter. They have given up a total of just four touchdowns.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michigan State: RB LJ Scott. He is averaging 15 carries, but just 3.7 per rushing attempt. To help Lewerke, he has to help the Spartans establish a running game. That won’t be easy because Michigan is giving up a nation-low 69.3 yards rushing per game.
Michigan: QB John O’Korn gets his first start of the season, filling in for injured starter Wilton Speight. O’Korn was 18 of 26 for 270 yards with a TD and an interception in the Wolverines’ last game, a 28-10 win at Purdue.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Wolverines won 32-23 last year in Spartan Stadium, snapping a three-game losing streak and winning on the road in the rivalry for the first time since 2007. … The last time Michigan State played at the Big House, Jalen Watts-Jackson returned a fumble off a botched punt 38 yards for a go-ahead TD as time expired for the Spartans. … Michigan is coming off a bye. … Michigan State beat Iowa 17-10 last week at home. … The rivals are playing each other at night for the first time.
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