Michigan State looks to remain undefeated against Washington this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time on ABC in Seattle.

Michigan State vs. Washington preview

Finally, some real competition for the Spartans.

Michigan State faces its first Power 5 test of the season Saturday against Washington, a team highlighted by Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback. The former Indiana signal caller has thrown for 682 yards and 6 touchdowns through 2 games this season. He looks as legit as any quarterback in the country, though playing against inferior opponents.

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Part of the passing threat from the Huskies comes from James McMillan. The sophomore receiver owns 3 of Penix’s 6 touchdown tosses on the year on just 9 receptions. He’s averaging just under 24 yards per reception so far this season.

Penix has yet to face a defense with a player even close to as talented as Jacoby Windmon this season. The UNLV transfer has been a force to be reckoned with and has won a B1G Defensive Player of the Week award as well as the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week award for his efforts in Week 1 against Western Michigan.

Even still, the Huskies are looking to prove they are legit after downing Kent State and Portland State in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. They, too, have a rock solid defensive front that could give the Spartans a bit of trouble. That’s where the game will be won – Penix and Payton Thorne won’t be able to do it themselves. At least one unit is going to have to establish a ground game to go up against the other’s front.

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As far as the secondary goes, Michigan State’s is the strongest Penix has faced all season. The Spartans return 4 of their 5 defensive backs from last season, including the nickel position in Tucker’s 4-2-5 base.

All this to say, it’s going to be extremely difficult for both of these teams to move the ball, but even more so for the Huskies.

Michigan State vs. Washington prediction

This is where Michigan State finds out if it’s for real, and it has the potential to do just that. Washington, especially at home, will be a difficult challenge, but Penix will finally meet his match against a strong defense.

Michigan State will win a narrow one ahead of its B1G opener next week against Minnesota.

Prediction: Michigan State 24, Washington 20