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BYU Cougars at Michigan State Spartans - 10/8/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

BYU Cougars (2-3) at Michigan State Spartans (2-2)

College Football: Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 3:30 pm (Spartan Stadium)

The Line: Michigan State Spartans -5 -- Over/Under: 50 See the Latest Odds


Up at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, we’ve got Week 6 college football action coming between the BYU Cougars and the Michigan State Spartans. 

BYU comes into this game sporting a 2-3 record on the season. The Cougars are fresh off eking out a 55-53 win over Toledo in their most recent outing, bringing a three-game losing streak to a halt. In that matchup, Brigham Young RB Jamaal Williams was the star of the show here, bagging a school-record five rushing touchdowns on top of a career-best 286 yards on 30 carries. QB Taysom Hill went 11-of-21 with 248 yards and one TD in the game for the Cougars, most of which went to Jonah Trinnaman’s 75-yard scoring catch. 

BYU Cougars at Michigan State Spartans - 10/8/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction


So far this year at Brigham Young, Hill has put up a 102-of-171 line for 1117 yards and a 5:6 TD:INT ratio, while Nick Kurtz leads the receivers on 18 catches for 205 yards and one score. Williams is by far the Cougars’ best runner, posting 109 carries for 703 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. 

As for Michigan State, they’re coming into Saturday with a 2-2 record so far following a heartbreaking 24-21 OT loss to Indiana last weekend. It was the first time the Spartans had given up the Old Brass Spittoon trophy since 2006. Tyler O’Connor put up a nice line for Michigan State in that one, bagging a 21-for-35 mark for 263 yards and three TDs. WR R.J. Shelton was the big statistical standout for the Spartans, however, with his seven receptions for 141 yards and a TD. 

On the Michigan State season, O’Connor has produced a 71-for-117 mark for 918 yards and eight touchdowns, with Shelton getting the lion’s share of those stats on 18 receptions, 244 yards and two TDs. On the ground, RB L.J. Scott heads up the Spartans attack with his 67 carries for 302 yards and two scores. 

Brigham Young is 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss, and 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games. BYU is also 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games on grass. 

Meanwhile, Michigan State is 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up loss, and 1-3-1 ATS in their last five versus independents. Michigan State is also 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games overall, and 1-6 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. 

It’s pretty obvious that BYU’s strength on offense is rushing; the Cougars are pretty one-sided in that regard. That’s not great news for Michigan State, who doesn’t put up a whole lot of points—an average of 22.8 per game. The Spartans will have to make the most of their time on offense, as Brigham Young will likely monopolize the clock by sticking with Williams and the ground game. O’Connor will have to overcome that 8:5 TD:INT ratio and play mistake-free football, or else Michigan State’s offense might not get back on the field enough times to make a difference on the scoreboard. I think the Spartans will pull this one out, but barely, and in relatively low-scoring fashion. The under seems like the most sensible play here given the heavy emphasis on the run from both Michigan State and BYU.

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