The question asked immediately following last week’s 32-23 loss to Michigan was: Can Michigan State carry over a well-played fourth quarter against the Wolverines to its next game? There is plenty of belief that it could, but the actual answer comes Saturday at Illinois.
Michigan State (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) carries a six-game losing streak into Champaign, Ill., but also has confidence that it turned a corner with its performance against the Wolverines. It outscored Michigan 13-5 in the second half, marking the first time it has held an opponent without a touchdown in the second half this season.
Playing Illinois (2-6, 1-4) also adds to the confidence. The Illini have given up 31 or more points in all six of their losses, and only one defeat has been by less than seven points. Neither team has anything to brag about but if Michigan State is going to get a win, this would appear to be its best chance.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch/listen to the Week 10 matchup:
Michigan State at Illinois game time, details
Time: 12 p.m. (ET) kickoff
Date: Saturday, Nov. 5
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Ill.
Weather: High of 67, sunny, 10 percent chance of rain.
The line: Michigan State is favored by 7.5 points
What TV channel/radio station is Michigan State at Illinois on?
The game will be broadcast on ESPN News. The game can also be heard on radio over the 39-affiliate Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WJR-AM (760) in Detroit. For a list of Illinois radio affiliates, click here. You can also follow along on the Landof10.com Live Blog.
How can I watch Michigan State at Illinois online?
Who is calling the game?
Mike Couzens will provide play-by-play for ESPN News with analyst Dan Hawkins. The Spartan Sports Network will be led by George Blaha on play-by-play, with analyst Jason Strayhorn and sideline reporter Keith Nichol.
Find the energy
Kickoff is at 11 a.m. local time and the atmosphere won’t be as electric as it was last week against Michigan. So Michigan State will have to create its own energy — not an easy task on the road when the stadium isn’t expected to be full. The thought of ending the losing streak is the best motivator the Spartans have. It should be the only motivation they need.
Win the line of scrimmage
This used to be a given for Michigan State teams, but not this season. To its credit, the offensive line has been better the last two games, providing the foundation for consecutive 200-yard rushing games. The defensive line, however, is still struggling to find its groove. The Spartans have allowed 190 yards or more rushing in the last four games. The Spartans need to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
One way to produce energy and momentum is to take the ball away on defense. Cornerback Darian Hicks got an interception last week against Michigan and returned it 42 yards to give the offense good field position. That hasn’t happened enough this season and is a big reason why the defense is giving up nearly 400 yards per game.
Kevin Goheen covers Michigan State for Landof10.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CincyGoGo