FOOTBALL | NCAAF

Michigan State Spartans vs. Miami Hurricanes Pick & Prediction SEP 18TH 2021

Complete Sun Life Stadium Miami Gardens
109Spartans Michigan State
110Hurricanes Miami
OP
54.5
-17.5
CU
53.5o -110
-9 +130
ML
ML: 210
ML: -250
Partials
2 3 4
0 10 7 21
0 7 7 3
Score
38
17

The No. 24 Miami Hurricanes, unimpressive in both of their games this season, will look to reverse that trend on Saturday afternoon.

Miami (1-1) will play host to Michigan State (2-0), whose have beaten Northwestern and Youngstown State to start the season.

Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz has high praise for the Spartans, who have scored on their first play from scrimmage in both their games. Kenneth Walker III had a 75-yard run against Northwestern, and Payton Thorne fired a 75-yard TD pass to Jayden Reed on the opening play against Youngstown State.

"Michigan State is playing as well as anybody in the country," Miami coach Manny Diaz said. "It's going to be a great challenge."

Miami is a 6 1/2-point favorite despite getting blown out by Alabama, 44-13, in its opener and then barely escaping Appalachian State, 25-23, this past Saturday.

Led by quarterback D'Eriq King, the Canes have an experienced team. King will be playing in his 48th career game, and he has veteran targets such as running back Cam'Ron Harris, tight end Will Mallory and receivers Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo.

But the Hurricanes have some issues, including their questionable depth behind Harris. Backup Donald Chaney Jr. was ruled out for the season on Monday due to a right knee injury. Jaylan Knighton, Miami's other proven backup, has to serve two more games of a suspension for violating team rules.

Touted freshmen Thaddius Franklin Jr. and Cody Brown are expected to get carries on Saturday. Brown, so far, is running with the second team.

"It's not just as easy as running the ball. You've got pass protection involved," Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. "We're working hard to get them ready."

Miami also lost starting linebacker Keontra Smith to injury during the Appalachian State game, and he won't play for several weeks.

Fifth-year junior Waynmon Steed is next in line to replace Smith. Third-year freshman Avery Huff is also in the mix.

Michigan State, meanwhile, ranks third in the nation in rushing yards per carry (8.0). That's in stark contrast to Miami's running offense, averaging just 3.5 yards.

In addition, Miami's defense has produced just two sacks while the Spartans have six.

Some of this may have to do with Miami opening with top-ranked Alabama. Even so, the Spartans have some legit weapons.

Thorne is completing 65.2 percent of his passes this year for 465 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. The third-year sophomore is 2-1 in his three career starts, losing only to Penn State last December.

Walker gained 1,158 yards and 17 TDs in the past two years at Wake Forest before arriving at Michigan State in January. This year, Walker has 321 yards, a 10.7 average and five touchdowns.

Reed had four catches for 181 yards and two TDs in the win over Youngstown State.

Three other Spartans to watch are backup running back Jordon Simmons (131 yards, 6.2 average), speedy receiver Jalen Nailor and safety Xavier Henderson (team highs with 17 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception).

Spartans coach Mel Tucker said there's a reason why his offense is flowing so far.

"(Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson) is an experienced play-caller," Tucker said. "The game is called during the week, and then we make adjustments (on Saturday)."

--Field Level Media

Michigan State Spartans vs. Miami Hurricanes Recap SEP 18TH 2021

Kenneth Walker III rushed for 172 yards, and Payton Thorne passed for 261 yards with four touchdowns, leading visiting Michigan State to a 38-17 upset victory over No. 24 Miami on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan State (3-0) got two TD receptions from Jalen Nailor, with one each from Walker and Jayden Reed.

Thorne's final TD pass was a 39-yarder to Nailor with 4:12 left in the game. It came one play after Thorne's sneak picked up a fourth-and-1 first down by just a few inches, and the Spartans up by just seven points (24-17) at the time.

Walker averaged 6.4 yards per rush, forcing numerous missed tackles.

Hurricanes quarterback D'Eriq King completed 38 of 59 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. Miami wide receiver Charleston Rambo caught 12 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

However, King lost two fumbles and was intercepted twice, and Miami (1-2) was unable to force a turnover.

Michigan State, which led 10-7 at halftime, opened the scoring with a 23-yard Matt Coghlin field goal early in the second quarter.

Miami took a 7-3 lead as King hit Rambo on fourth-and-2 for a 3-yard score. Rambo caught five passes for 70 yards on that drive.

Coghlin then missed a 39-yard field goal wide right, wasting a 51-yard catch and run by Tre Mosley.

Miami's Andres Borregales missed a 27-yard field goal wide left with 6:10 left in the second. Just prior to that miss, Miami tight end Will Mallory dropped a routine catch in the end zone.

Michigan State capitalized, taking a 10-7 lead on Thorne's 7-yard TD pass to Walker on a third-and-goal play.

The Spartans stretched their lead to 17-7 in the third quarter on an 11-yard TD catch from Nailor.

Miami closed the deficit to 17-14 on King's 14-yard TD pass to Rambo on third-and-10. King's TD pass came in tight coverage between two defenders.

Following a King fumble, caused by the pass rush of Drew Beesley and recovered by Jacub Panasiuk, the Spartans took over at the Miami 13. Thorne then hit Reed on third-and-seven for a 10-yard score and a 24-14 lead.

Miami cut its deficit to 24-17 on Borregales' career-long 55-yard field goal, with the late 39-yard TD pass to Nailor clinching the Spartans' victory.

--Field Level Media

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