No. 11 Michigan State, Washington both seeking validation

No. 11 Michigan State (2-0) at Washington (2-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Line: Washington by 3 1/2 according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Washington leads 2-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Welcome to prove-it weekend for both Washington and Michigan State. The Spartans looked terrific in their first two games routing Western Michigan and Akron to open the season, but weren’t tested in a way that validated their No. 11 ranking. Their spot among the elite in the Big Ten would be confirmed with a win at Washington, which looks vastly improved in Kalen DeBoer’s first season as head coach. But like Michigan State, the Huskies had a soft landing to their schedule and the Spartans represent the first test of DeBoer’s tenure.

KEY MATCHUP

Washington’s offensive line vs. Michigan State’s pass rush. The Spartans lead the country in sacks with 12. Washington has allowed only two sacks through two games. The Huskies are hoping left tackles Jaxson Kirkland will be ready to make his season debut and solidify the offense line, and give QB Michael Penix Jr. time to operate against the Spartans.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: DE/LB Jacoby Windmon was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week in each of the first two weeks of the season. Windmon leads the country in sacks (5 ½) and forced fumbles (4). Windmon, a transfer from UNLV, is the first Michigan State defensive player to win Big Ten player of the week awards in consecutive weeks.

Washington: WR Jalen McMillan has quickly become a big-play option in the Huskies passing game. McMillan had two touchdown receptions in the opener against Kent State and followed up with four catches for 127 yards and a TD last week against Portland State.

FACTS & FIGURES

Penix has two career games against Michigan State from his time at Indiana. Penix threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns and ran for one in a 40-31 loss to the Spartans in 2019. A year later, Penix threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-0 win over the Spartans. … The teams have not played since the 1997 Aloha Bowl when Washington won 51-23 over a Nick Saban-coached Spartans team. … The Spartans are 0-13 in regular season games since 1957 played in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Hawaii. Last win was Oct. 5, 1957 at Cal.

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