No. 11 Spartans try for 20th straight win in a home opener
Utah State (6-7 last season) at No. 11 Michigan State (10-3), Friday, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network).
Line: Michigan State by 23½.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Spartans come into the season with plenty of returning starters all over the depth chart. They’ll be expected to look the part of Big Ten title contenders in this nonconference opener. Michigan State is trying for its 20th consecutive win in a home opener.
Michigan State running back LJ Scott vs. Utah State’s turnover-seeking defense. Scott and the Spartans had fumbling problems in 2017, and the Aggies recovered 16 fumbles on the season. Utah State probably needs those trends to continue if it’s going to pull off an upset.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Utah State: QB Jordan Love. He started only six games last season but still set a school record for yards passing by a freshman. Love threw for 1,631 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.
Michigan State: CB Josh Butler. Coach Mark Dantonio announced a few weeks ago that CB Josiah Scott would miss around two months with an injury. Now Butler is atop the depth chart at cornerback. He started four games last season as a redshirt sophomore.
FACTS & FIGURES
Utah State returns nine starters on both offense and defense, and Michigan State returns 10 on offense and nine on defense — although injuries have lowered the total for each team heading into this game. ... Brian Lewerke last year became the first QB in Michigan State history to throw for over 2,500 yards and run for over 500. ... Utah State opened last season on the road against a Big Ten foe. The Aggies lost 59-10 at Wisconsin, although they led that game 10-0 after one quarter. ... Michigan State opens on a Friday night for the seventh time in eight years.
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