The American Athletic Association will take on the mighty Big Ten Conference in week one of the college football season. The Michigan State Spartans will host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Friday night to kick off the season. Both the Spartans and Hurricane are looking for bounce-back performances this season after struggling a season ago.
Michigan State is No. 18 in the preseason polls, but that might be giving the Spartans too much credit. The Spartans finished the 2018 season with a record of just 7-6 and really struggled down the stretch. Tulsa finished the 2018 season with a record of 3-9, and they likely won’t be much better this season. Opening up on the road against the Spartans is a tough way to start for this Tulsa team. Michigan State is a whopping 23.5-point favorite at home in this matchup.
Defense Remains Strong For MSU
Michigan State had a lot of issues on offense a season ago, but their defense put up some very impressive numbers. The Spartans led the nation in rushing defense in 2018, and they didn’t give up many points all season long. Michigan State has its entire defensive line back for this season and should be terrific up front. The Spartans’ secondary will be tested in Big Ten games, but that won’t be the case against Tulsa.
The Spartans averaged less than 19 points per game a season ago and were one of the worst scoring teams in the country. Michigan State didn’t score an offensive touchdown in three of its last four games, as the offense was ravaged with injuries. Quarterback Brian Lewerke will be back under center this season, and that should spell good things for the Spartans offense.
Tulsa Wants to Run
Tulsa has a pair of terrific running backs on its roster, and they will try to run the ball in this game. Michigan State led the nation in rushing defense a season ago, but the Golden Hurricane is still going to test them. Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II combined for more than 1,700 rushing yards during the 2018 regular season, and they will have the ball a ton in this game. If Tulsa can run the ball on the Spartans, they can shorten the game.
The Golden Hurricane allowed more than 500 yards of offense during the 2017 season, but they played a little better last season. Defense still let Tulsa down a season ago, and that could be an issue against a Big Ten offense. The Golden Hurricane does return several starters this season, but it’s time for them to perform.
Michigan State Blows Out Tulsa
This game should feature plenty of defense, but the offenses will breakthrough eventually. Michigan State has won 20 straight home openers and is a perfect 7-0 on Friday night under Mark Dantonio. Tulsa should be much better this season, but they don’t have the athletes to compete with Michigan State. The Spartans are going to blow out the Golden Hurricane in the season opener. Take the Michigan State Spartans -23.5 over Tulsa on Friday night.