Something’s Gotta Give: Michigan State And Washington Both Seek To End Long Streaks Of Futility
There's a lot on the line this weekend in Seattle.
For Michigan State, it's a chance to complete the nonconference slate unscathed for the second consecutive year under head coach Mel Tucker. MSU of course wants to do that, for obvious reasons.
But the Spartans' trip to Washington also is important because it could represent an inflection point in their season, the same way their Week 3 nonconference road trip in in 2021 did when they pounded Miami, 38-17. Michigan State earned a lot of credibility with its win in South Florida back then, and it set the tone for the rest of the Spartans' season.
For Washington, it's an opportunity to get to their third win five weeks earlier than they did a season ago. It also would also put the Huskies in strong position to earn a bowl berth for the first time in three seasons. And it's a chance for first-year Washington quarterback Michael Penix, who just transferred from Indiana, to reestablish himself and his NFL draft stock, maybe.
Those are the biggest stakes that'll be on the line when the Spartans and Huskies kick off at 7:30 p.m. eastern time on Saturday. But each team is also haunted by its own particular specter, a trend that stretches back years and portends inauspiciously.
Michigan State has lost its last 13 regular-season games played on the West Coast. The Spartans' most recent regular season victory on the Pacific coast was in 1957, a 19-0 victory over Cal in Berkley.
And MSU hasn't just lost those games — the Spartans have lost them badly. The total combined score over that span is 445-212, meaning MSU lost each of those 13 games by three touchdowns, on average, 34-12.
As for the Huskies, they haven't beaten a ranked Power Five nonconference foe at Husky Stadium since 2001. Their last home win over a ranked nonconference opponent came in 2001 when the No. 15 Huskies beat No. 11 Michigan, 23-18.
In the intervening 21 years, Washington is 0-4 at home versus ranked nonconference opponents. And, like MSU with its woeful streak, the Huskies have been routed in those games, losing by an average score of 44-18. If you include Notre Dame in the sample, Washington's record over that same time is 0-6, averaging a 41-16 blowout loss.
What does it all mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
Something's gotta give, though.