Miami vs. Michigan State Predictions: Can Hurricanes Offense Get On Track?

The Michigan State Spartans travel to No. 24 Miami to take on the Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium this Saturday on ABC. College Football analyst Matt Hayes previews this game below.
Matt Hayes
Tue, September 14, 6:18 AM EDT

Miami vs. Michigan State Prediction

Miami Hurricanes vs. Michigan State Spartans

Point Spread: Miami -6.5

Total: 55.5

Game Time: 12:00 PM ET

TV: ABC

Miami vs. Michigan State Prediction

Miami vs. Michigan State Odds

Out Of The Tunnel:

Miami is at a crossroads in Year 3 under coach Manny Diaz. There’s no other way to look at it.
He has made huge strides off the field, landing strong recruiting classes and rallying a passionate former player base. Everyone is aligned with the one overriding goal of winning like it once was in Coral Gables.

Now, the problem: it’s not translating to the field. The ugly loss to Alabama is nothing to be ashamed of. The Tide does that over and over in the best conference in college football.

The near loss to Appalachian State, let’s face it, the Canes should’ve lost is another level of concern. It’s not just that Miami had App State outmanned at every position on the field; it’s that the Canes looked disinterested.

After a tough first season of weeding out who wasn’t buying in, Mel Tucker has Michigan State playing tougher and more intelligent. Two things he has drilled into players since he stepped on campus in East Lansing.

The Spartans are not that far removed from playing in the College Football Playoff. While the roster isn’t as stocked as the 2015 team that lost to Alabama in the CFP semifinals, Tucker is one of the top three recruiters in the Big Ten and is building toward it.

When Miami Has The Ball:

It’s all about Quarterback D’Eriq King. The offense revolves around King’s dual-threat ability and how offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has built a unique system around King.

King is nine months removed from ACL surgery on his knee and still hasn’t cut it loose. This is the game to make that happen.

Michigan State runs better on defense than last season, but it’s still a work in progress especially in the secondary. Miami will still have an advantage with a better set of skill players, but can the Canes control the line of scrimmage and protect King?

This is Year 3 for Offensive Tackles Zion Nelson and DJ Scaife, and they’re still hit and miss in pass protection. Both have the size to dominate and have NFL potential but haven’t consistently played to that level. Miami typically plays well offensively when Running Back Cam’Ron Harris gets involved early in the game.

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When Michigan State Has The Ball:

The difference at the most important position on the field is striking. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi was a try-hard guy in 2020, a tough leader who wasn’t among the upper half of the Big Ten quarterbacks, and it showed with 8 Touchdowns and 9 Interceptions. Two games into this season, Payton Thorne has 5 Touchdowns and 0 Interceptions and is throwing more accurately.

The offense, more than anything, is efficient and potentially dangerous. Tucker signed Kenneth Walker III from the transfer portal, and the former Wake Forest tailback has been a find for the Spartans, rushing for 321 yards and 5 touchdowns in two games and averaging 10.7 yards per carry.

The Spartans have gone from a plodding, predictable offense in 2020 to a unit that not only has scored 80 points but has the personnel to accomplish pass and run game principles they simply couldn’t manage last season.

Michigan State hasn’t faced a defense as athletic as Miami, so there’s no true barometer of just how far the Spartans have come from last year’s inconsistencies. First, the Spartans must find an answer for Miami Defensive End Jahfari Harvey, an athletic and long force off the edge.
Bruising and disruptive Defensive Tackle Nesta Jade Silvera will cause problems for the MSU run game.

The Bottom Line:

The Spartans are hot, and winning builds confidence. Miami is struggling and desperate. There’s nothing quite like desperate home teams with a talented quarterback. While Michigan State has played well early this season, the Spartans haven’t faced an offense that can stress their defense. Northwestern couldn’t run the ball, and FCS Youngstown State was overmatched.

King will get more comfortable with confidence in his surgically repaired knee, and the offense will continue to develop. Before the injury in the bowl game last season, Miami was prolific and dangerous offensively. The Canes will get there again, and this is the first step.

Miami vs. Michigan State Prediction and Pick

Prediction: Miami, 27-24

Pick: Miami Moneyline (-250)

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