Michigan State football vs. Youngstown State: Odds, spread and prediction

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

The Michigan State football team is coming off an impressive season-opening road victory over Northwestern, a rival Big Ten conference opponent.

It’s clear that Spartans head coach Mel Tucker had his program prepared for the task at hand as Michigan State football traveled into enemy territory but came away with an impressive victory riding their workhorse running back Kenneth Walker III over the Wildcats.

If you were not familiar with Walker III before last week, you should be now.  The Wake Forest transfer made it known he’s ready to do the heavy lifting in 2021 for the Spartan offense.  Walker III ran for a stellar 264 yards on 23 carries, good for 11.5 yards per carry.  The junior classman also scored four rushing touchdowns in his Michigan State debut.

Walker’s superb Week One performance earned him the Maxwell Player of the Week Award honors.

This is a significant accomplishment for Michigan State football; understanding the program has not seen a single game 200-yard rusher since Le’Veon Bell did it back in 2012.

Michigan State football takes on Youngstown State in the Spartans’ 2021 home opener.

Having a great rushing attack really helps take the pressure off the second-year quarterback, Payton Thorne.  Thorne is a game manager who can be very efficient and successful in the short and intermediate passing attack.

Tucker’s Spartans will play their best in 2021 when Walker is pounding the rock and Thorne is asked to convert on third and manageable situations.  Walker’s success should open up the play-action pass, which will help the young quarterback get the football into the hands of his talented pass-catchers.

Jayden Reed hauled in five of his targets, totaling 64 yards in the season opener.  Tre Mosley added 59 yards on four receptions against Northwestern.

The Youngstown State Penguins are coming off of a 44-41 victory over the Incarnate Word Cardinals.

The last time these two programs met was back in 2013.  Michigan State blew out the Penguins 55-17.

Michigan State football odds:

The Spartans enter the contest as 20 point favorites with the Moneyline set at -120.  In this contest, I like the Spartans to cover the massive spread, and should handily defeat Youngstown State.  Kick-off is set for noon and can be viewed on the BIG Ten Network.

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Mel Tucker will be looking to continue building confidence in his group before traveling to Miami to take on the Hurricanes next weekend.