Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at Iowa (3-1, 0-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

Line: Iowa by 11 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Iowa leads 24-22-2.


Michigan State acting coach Harlon Barnett said the Spartans are “very, very close” to a breakthrough. That notion will be tested against an Iowa team still smarting from generating just 76 total yards in a 31-0 loss at Penn State. The Spartans’ five turnovers in last week’s 31-9 loss to Maryland were their most in a non-pandemic season since 2008.


Michigan State RB Nate Carter vs. Iowa defense. The Connecticut transfer has come back from a season-ending shoulder injury last year to become the Spartans’ workhorse. He’s averaging just under 19 carries and 93 yards per game, and he has broken three runs of 30 yards or longer. Never mind Penn State’s 215 rushing yards against Iowa last week. That required 57 attempts. If there’s one thing the Hawkeyes traditionally do well, it’s shut down the run.


Michigan State: QB Noah Kim. Barnett said he’s sticking with Kim as the starter after giving Katin Houser a chance to play in last week’s lopsided loss to Maryland. Kim was 18 of 32 for 190 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Terrapins and 12 of 31 for 136 yards and an interception when No. 8 Washington routed the Spartans.

Iowa: QB Cade McNamara was supposed to be an upgrade from 2022 starter Spencer Petras. That’s not the case so far. McNamara is a combined 14 of 33 for 145 yards over his last two games, is completing 51% of his passes for the season and is the lowest-rated passer in the Big Ten.


Carter has 40.2% of Michigan State’s offensive touches (rushing attempts and receptions), the third-highest rate in the Power Five. … Iowa has won eight of its last 11 at night at Kinnick Stadium and is encouraging all fans to wear black. … Iowa’s tight ends have accounted for 24 receptions for 295 yards and one touchdown over the first four games. … Michigan State DBs Malik Spencer and Dillon Tatum lead the team with 25 tackles, one more than standout LB Cal Haladay.