After a disappointing 2020, Michigan State has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2021 college football season.
The Spartans are 7-0 and in first place in the Big Ten East. They’re also ranked in the top 10 in the AP poll for the first time in five years.
On Saturday, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit sung the Spartans’ praises on College GameDay, hours before they wrapped up a 20-15 win over Indiana to remain undefeated.
“There’s not a more-improved team in the country than Michigan State,” Herbstreit said, via 247Sports. “Last year, offensively, scored 18 points a game. This year, averaging 36 points a game. Defensively, they gave up 35 points a game a year ago. And now, they’re only giving up 19. So they have completely reversed their fortunes on both sides of football. They’re aggressive, showing all that skill, I think Payton Thorne’s ability at the quarterback position.
“This team — when you come into a year, nobody’s expecting anything, all of a sudden, you find a way to win one, you find a way to win another one. Next thing you know, you’re ranked in the top 10. They’re starting to believe. And now, they’ve become a legitimate (contender).”
A contender in the Big Ten? Yes, we’d say so, though we are going to learn a lot about the Spartans in the coming weeks.
After a bye this weekend, Michigan State returns to the field to host No. 6 Michigan on October 30. The following week, they’ll visit a Purdue team that’s currently ranked 25th in the country and took down then-No. 2 Iowa last Saturday.
If that’s not enough of a challenge, after playing Maryland on November 13, the Spartans close out their season against Penn State and Ohio State. A conference championship is on the table for MSU, but they are going to have run the gauntlet to win it.
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