NCAAF PREVIEWS |

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan State Spartans Preview and Predictions 11-09-2019


Michigan State looks to snap a three-game losing streak when it hosts Big Ten rival Illinois on Saturday. The Spartans have played three straight teams that were ranked in the Top 10 at the time, losing by a combined 100-17, while the Illini come into the contest on a three-game winning streak.

Illinois' run began with an upset over previously undefeated Wisconsin three weeks ago, and Lovie Smith's team has been cruising since. The Illini's defense has been outstanding of late and leads the nation in defensive touchdowns (five), forced fumbles (17) and turnovers gained (22). Michigan State has been just the opposite over its last four games, allowing each of its last four opponents to score 28 points or more, and is now without leading tackler Joe Bachie, who has been declared ineligible for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Quarterback Brian Lewerke (1,761 yards, 11 touchdowns) has been inconsistent, but when he gets rolling, he can be as good as any passer in the Big Ten.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Michigan State -14.5

ABOUT ILLINOIS (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten): Illinois senior linebacker Dele Harding seems to be flying under the radar this season, despite being one of the top tacklers in the country. Coach Lovie Smith was noticeably upset when it was announced that Harding, who is fourth in the country with 106 tackles, didn't make the Butkus Award semifinalist list, yet teammate Jake Hansen did. Hansen, a junior, has 72 tackles and a national-best seven forced fumbles and was part of a contingent of five Big Ten linebackers who were semifinalists for the award.

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (4-4, 2-3): The Spartans have been known for their running game for a number of years, but Michigan State is 13th in the Big Ten, averaging 112.9 yards per game on the ground. Redshirt freshman Elijah Collins leads the way with 545 yards but he's dealt with a couple of nagging injuries, and the Spartans' backfield depth took a major hit with Connor Heyward and La'Darius Jefferson entering the transfer portal last month. Against Penn State two weeks ago, Collins was sidelined for a couple series, and Michigan State was forced to go with freshmen Brandon Wright and Anthony Williams to replace him.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Illinois WR Josh Imatorbhebhe has seven touchdown receptions this season, ranking him tied for third in the Big Ten and tied for 24th nationally.

2. Michigan State WR Darrell Stewart is second in the Big Ten in receiving yards (694) and third in receptions (47).

3. Illini DE Oluwole Betiku Jr. ranks fifth in the nation in sacks per game with 1.14 and ninth in tackles for loss at 1.6.

Prediction

Free Daily Lock Pick: NCAAF: Toledo vs. Buffalo - November 20th - (100% Confidence Release)

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Spartan Stadium
East Lansing, Michigan, USA.
Capacity: 75,005

Last Injuries

Michigan State Spartans

  • Josiah Scott

    Head
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Scott was forced from the last game with a head injury, and it is unknown if he will play against Rutgers on Saturday.

  • Jalen Nailor

    Foot
    Prob Sat | probable

    Naillor is sidelined due to a broken foot, but he is expected to be available for Saturday's matchup versus Rutgers.

  • Tre'von Morgan

    Knee
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Morgan is recuperating from a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will take part in Saturday's contest against Rutgers.

  • Kevin Jarvis

    Knee
    Doub Sat | doubtful

    Jarvis has been recovering from a right knee injury. His availability is unlikely against Rutgers on Saturday.

  • Matt Dotson

    Achilles
    out for season | out

    Dotson will miss the remainder of the 2019 season with a torn Achilles.

  • Brian Lewerke

    Head
    Prob Sat | probable

    Lewerke suffered a head injury in the previous game but is likely to be available for Saturday's contest against Michigan.

  • C.J. Hayes

    Lower Body
    Prob Sat | probable

    Hayes missed the last game due to a lower-body injury, but it is likely that he will play against Michigan on Saturday.

  • Shakur Brown

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Brown is bothered by an unspecified injury, and it has yet to be established if he will be in Saturday's lineup versus Michigan.

Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Jamal Woods

    Stinger
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Woods is battling a stinger, and it has yet to be established if he will take part in Saturday's game versus Iowa.

  • Isaiah Williams

    Upper Body
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Williams has sat out the last four games due to an upper-body injury, and it is unknown if he will play against Iowa on Saturday.

  • Oluwole Betiku Jr.

    Ankle
    Prob Sat | probable

    Betiku has missed the previous three games with an ankle injury, but it is likely that he will play Saturday versus Iowa.

  • Dominic Stampley

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Stampley did not take the field for the previous game due to an unspecified injury. His status Saturday versus Iowa is unknown.

  • Jakari Norwood

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Norwood is nursing an undefined injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be available against Iowa on Saturday.

  • Delano Ware

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Ware has an unspecified injury, and it is undetermined if he will suit up Saturday against Iowa.

  • Jake Hansen

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Hansen sat out the last game due to an undefined injury, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup against Iowa on Saturday.

  • Jordan Holmes

    Leg
    Out indefinitely | out

    Holmes is sidelined with a leg injury, and there is currently no timetable for return.

michigan-state-spartans-football Stats 2019-2020

Passing
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Brian Lewerke 4 0 140.000 0 138 86 1 0 0 7 1025
Rocky Lombardi 1 0 125.200 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3
Darrell Stewart Jr. 4 0 .000 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 17
Russing
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Elijah Collins 4 0 357 0 61 2
Connor Heyward 4 0 79 0 24 0
Brian Lewerke 4 0 69 0 25 0
Anthony Williams Jr. 3 0 46 0 15 0
La'darius Jefferson 4 0 21 0 16 2
Receiving
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Darrell Stewart Jr. 4 0 439 0 30 0 1
Cody White 4 0 190 0 16 0 2
Matt Seybert 3 0 90 0 8 0 2
Matt Dotson 3 0 80 0 9 0 1
Connor Heyward 4 0 52 0 7 0 1
Defense
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Joe Bachie 4 0 20 20 0 0 1 19 4 2 10 5
Xavier Henderson 4 0 16 6 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0
Josiah Scott 3 0 12 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0
Antjuan Simmons 4 0 10 14 0 0 0 13 1 2 6 5
David Dowell 4 0 9 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Kicking
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Matt Coghlin 4 0 8 12 47 13 13
Kick Returning
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Darrell Stewart Jr. 4 0 4 0 31 91
Jalen Nailor 1 0 2 0 28 51
Julian Barnett 3 0 1 0 7 7
Fumbles
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Cody White 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0
Connor Heyward 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Punting
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Alante Thomas 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Brian Lewerke 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
Cody White 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Connor Heyward 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Darrell Stewart Jr. 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Punt Returning
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Cody White 4 0 7 0 10 40
Brandon Sowards 1 0 2 0 14 26
Jalen Nailor 1 0 2 0 10 17
Dominique Long 4 0 1 0 9 9