Eastern Michigan vs Michigan State: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Game Time and More
Michigan State comes into Week 4 reeling after losing to Notre Dame, 20-3.
Fortunately for the Spartans, they get to face Eastern Michigan, an 0-3 squad that just got destroyed by Purdue, 54-16.
Michigan State looks to bounce back and remain in the thick of things in the Big Ten, a conference that has had collective struggles so far this season.
Here's a look at the matchup on Saturday in East Lansing.
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
When: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Big Ten Network
Listen: WEMU, Spartan Sports Network
Live Stream: BTN2Go
Betting Line: Michigan State -32.5, via ScoresAndOdds.com
What's At Stake?
After a troubling 20-3 loss to then-No. 20 Notre Dame on Saturday, Michigan State is battling to stay in the AP Top 25 and remain in the race for the Big Ten Legends division title.
The No. 21 Spartans did beat then-No. 24 Boise State to start the season, but they've seen junior Andrew Maxwell - the incumbent to Kirk Cousins - struggle mightily under center while star running back Le'Veon Bell trys to pick up the slack.
As for the Eagles, they've started out 0-3, losing to Purdue on Saturday, 54-16. They have yet to win a conference title since 1987. Eastern Michigan went 6-6 last season (4-4 MAC), losing to Michigan last September, 31-3.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
OT Fou Fonoti - Foot - OUT indefinitely
DL Brandon Clemons - Foot - OUT indefinitely
What They're Saying
To say the Big Ten as a whole is performing below expectations would be an understatement.
Although the conference's record after Week 3 is 26-10, only three of those wins have come against FBS teams with winning records: Central Florida, Northern Illinois and Utah State (per USA Today).
It's also the first time no team from the Big Ten has been ranked in the top 15 of the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll since Sept. 24, 2001.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany certainly wasn't sweeping the issue under the rug, via USA Today:
I think the narrative is fair, because it's based on facts. We're getting criticized for results on the field. I wish it weren't the case, but I don't criticize the critics, because the facts are the facts.
The Michigan State offense got bullied by the Notre Dame defense on Saturday, with Maxwell averaging just 4.2 yards per attempt while completing 51 percent of his passes.
As for the Eagles, they have been lit up on the ground. They've allowed 6.2 yards per carry so far, third-worst mark in the FBS, while giving up the most rushing touchdowns (13).
Eastern Michigan coach Ron English said after the game, according to the Associated Press, via the Knoxville News Sentinel, "We need to get better. We need to find the right guys for the right positions and put those players there."
English did note that it wasn't due to lack of effort, though.
Eastern Michigan Player to Watch: Alex Gillett, QB
For better or for worse, Eastern Michigan's hopes lie in senior Alex Gillett's hands.
Gillett has never been an accurate quarterback, but he's been downright awful the last two games, racking up six interceptions while completing just 50 percent of his passes. He still has the ability to scamper, but the Eagles aren't going to do much if he can't improve in the pocket.
Sophomore Tyler Benz took over for Gillett midway through the third quarter against Purdue, but he didn't exactly light up the scoreboard, either. He was five-of-14 for 76 yards (no touchdowns).
Michigan State Player to Watch: Le'Veon Bell, RB
It's hard for Le'Veon Bell to do a whole lot with defenses focusing on stopping the run while Maxwell struggles, but that hasn't stopped him from racking up 357 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Bell exploded to start the season against Boise State (44 carries, 210 yards, two touchdowns), but has had a little bit more trouble getting things going lately. He is a game-changer, but he does need Maxwell to start keeping defenses honest.
Key Matchup: Michigan State Run Game vs. Eastern Michigan Run Defense
This appears to be a nightmare matchup for Eastern Michigan.
You have already allowed 6.2 yards per carry. Now you have a star running back in Le'Veon Bell to deal with, who still managed to pump out 97 total yards against Manti Te'o and Notre Dame.
Eastern Michigan's best shot is stacking the box and making Maxwell beat them. The problem is, stacking the box may not even help this team against Bell and Co.
Will Michigan State win by 33 points or more?
Prediction: Michigan State 30, Eastern Michigan 10
While Andrew Maxwell is still trying to figure things out in the pocket, that shouldn't stop the Spartans from rolling over Eastern Michigan with their running game.
Also, Eastern Michigan's quarterback situation is far worse. Michigan State should eat up time of possession and the few times Eagles quarterbacks get the ball, they likely won't do much with it.
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