Michigan State Hosts No. 8 Washington Minus Coach Mel Tucker
No. 8 Washington at Michigan State, Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (Peacock)
Line: Washington by 16 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook
Series record: Washington leads 3-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The big question is how will Michigan State react to coach Mel Tucker being suspended pending results of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. Harlon Barnett, a former All-American defensive back for Michigan State who spent seven years in the NFL and is in his 15th season on staff with the program, is the Spartans’ interim coach.
Can Michigan State’s secondary slow down Washington’s pass game? The Huskies are entirely one-dimensional on offense through two games but it hasn’t mattered thanks to having arguably the best group of wide receivers in the country. Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk have combined for 38 receptions for 636 yards and six receiving touchdowns in two games. Michigan State’s pass defense has allowed 214 total yards passing in its first two games but hasn’t been tested by an offense like what Washington will present.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
WASHINGTON: WR/KR Germie Bernard. Bernard will return to East Lansing to face his former school at the same time his role for Washington is increasing. Bernard is averaging 22 yards per kickoff return with a long of 51 yards. He also has become the No. 4 wide receiver in Washington’s offense with five catches for 90 yards and last week had his first receiving touchdown with the Huskies.
MSU: QB Noah Kim. Kim was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week following his performance against Richmond. He was 18-of-22 passing for a career-high 292 yards and three touchdowns. Kim finished with 313 yards of total offense. After starting 3 for 7 against Richmond, Kim finished the game with a school-record 15 straight completions.
FACTS & FIGURES
Saturday’s game will mark the return of former MSU coach Mark Dantonio, the winningest head coach in school history, as an associate head coach for the Spartans. … Michigan State has a 19-5-1 home record against Pac-12 schools. … The last time Washington played at Michigan State was in 1969 and resulted in a 27-11 loss for the Huskies. ... Washington enters the week with the nation’s second-longest active winning streak among Power Five teams, with nine victories in a row. … QB Michael Penix Jr. has played 15 games for Washington and already holds five of the top 10 single-game passing marks in school history. … Washington is the first AP Top 10 nonconference opponent to visit Spartan Stadium since No. 7 Oregon in 2015, a 31-28 victory for the Spartans over the Ducks.