Furman (4-7 last season) at No. 12 Michigan State (12-2), 7:04 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Series Record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Michigan State gets only one tuneup before playing at Notre Dame on Sept. 17. The Spartans have an open date next week, so they’ll need to use this game to figure out what areas they need to improve. It goes without saying that a Michigan State loss to this FCS opponent would be a shocker.
Michigan State’s running game vs. Furman’s defensive front. The Spartans have a new starting QB this year, and this could be an easy opener for him if Michigan State can overpower Furman at the line of scrimmage. However, the Spartans lost three starters off their offensive line, including standouts Jack Conklin and Jack Allen, so it may take some time for that unit to come together.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Furman: S Trey Robinson. The senior has started 22 games for the Paladins. He had two interceptions when Furman beat Central Florida last year.
Michigan State: QB Tyler O’Connor. The fifth-year senior is taking over as the starter after backing up Connor Cook for most of his career. He’s attempted only 54 passes as a Spartan.
FACTS & FIGURES
Furman has never faced a Big Ten team, although it did play Penn State in 1958, well before the Nittany Lions joined the conference. … Furman is Michigan State’s first opponent from the state of South Carolina. … The Spartans have won their last seven season openers and their last 17 home openers. … When Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was a player at South Carolina, he faced Furman once, in 1978. The Gamecocks won 45-10. … Furman QB Reese Hannon is fourth on the school’s career list with 5,274 yards passing. Hannon and P.J. Blazejowski were listed together atop the depth chart heading into this week’s game.