ANN ARBOR, Mich. – No. 14 Michigan looks to continue its upward trajectory when it hosts Michigan State on Saturday in the battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy. The Wolverines have hit their stride in new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis' speed-in-space attack following victories over then eighth-ranked Notre Dame (45-14) and Maryland (38-7), and they hope to pour more misery on the beleaguered Spartans by notching back-to-back victories in the rivalry for the first time since 2006-07.
TV: Noon ET, Fox. LINE: Michigan -13
"We know that they're going to treat this like their Super Bowl," Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas told reporters. "It's about who's the big brother and who's the little sister in the state." Michigan State is left to pick up the pieces following an epic collapse in the 37-34 loss to Illinois last week. The Spartans held a commanding 28-3 lead in the second half before committing a series of self-inflicted wounds en route to their fourth consecutive defeat, and now hope to salvage their season by knocking off the Wolverines in Ann Arbor for the third consecutive time. "The message to our players is to get back up because we have a big game and we've got to rally back," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio told reporters. "There's going to be some very somber moments there but we have to deal with it."
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten)
Brian Lewerke threw for 251 yards against Illinois and accounted for a pair of touchdowns to go along with a career-high 96 rushing yards, but finished with three interceptions, including a pick six in the fourth quarter. Elijah Collins racked up 170 yards on the ground, which was the most by a Spartan against the Fighting Illini since Javon Ringer gained 194 in 2005, while Cody White hauled in a season-high seven passes for 128 yards. The Spartans are dealing with a slew of injuries as cornerback Josiah Scott (lower body), offensive lineman Luke Campbell (illness) and defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (hip) are all questionable for Saturday while Matt Dotson is out after suffering a season-ending achilles injury against Illinois.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (7-2, 4-2)
Shea Patterson completed 13-of-22 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown while Hassan Haskins rushed for a team-high 60 yards and a score in the win against Maryland on Nov. 2. Zach Charbonnet added a pair of touchdowns on the ground against the Terrapins to set a new program record for the most rushing TDs by a freshman with 11, eclipsing the old mark of nine shared by Michigan greats Mike Hart and Tyrone Wheatley. Josh Ross is healthy after missing six games with a high-ankle sprain, but Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh revealed that they are aiming to preserve the linebacker’s redshirt; wide receiver Ronnie Bell is questionable with a lower-body injury.
1. Michigan has won 13 straight home games dating back to last season.
2. Michigan State DE Kenny Willekes has 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss in 2019.
3. The Wolverines have rushed for 884 yards and 12 touchdowns over their last four games.
PREDICTION: Michigan 31, Michigan State 17