Northwestern vs. Michigan State fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, October 6
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Northwestern (1-3) vs. Michigan State (3-1) Game Preview
One Reason Why Northwestern Will Win
Michigan State just isn’t all that great so far. It has a way of playing up or down to the competition, struggling to push past a miserable Central Michigan team last week in a 31-20 win.
Considering the Spartan offense isn’t all that great, it needs field position help that’s not coming from one of the Big Ten’s worst punting games. Best of all, though, for the Wildcats are the struggles in the MSU secondary – the pass D is the second-worst in the conference so far.
The interceptions are there – Clayton Thorson has to be very, very careful against a D with two picks in three of the four games – but the Spartans are giving up over 280 yards per game. Thorson couldn’t do much of anything against the suffocating Michigan defense last week, but he’s about to bomb away.
One Reason Why Michigan State Will Win
There’s nothing happening with the Northwestern running game, and it’s not going to work this week, either.
Yeah, part of the reason the Spartan run D is great is because everyone is throwing, but it’s vice versa, too – teams have to throw because nothing is happening on the ground. So far, MSU has yet to allow more than 63 rushing yards, is allowing under two yards per carry, and hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown since the opener against Utah State.
How did Northwestern do with the ground attack with Jeremy Larkin done? 34 carries, 28 yards against Michigan. The Cats have been able to come up with rushing scores – nine in four games – but it hasn’t hit the 100-yard mark on the ground since the opener against Purdue. That just so happens to be the only game it won.
Combine the Big Ten’s worst running game with the Big Ten’s worst pass protection, and there’s a problem.
What’s Going To Happen
Northwestern had its rise-up-and-play-tough game against Michigan last week, and it was still a loss.
Michigan State might not be doing anything great and it might be underwhelming, but the secondary isn’t that bad – stats aside – and the defensive front is going to be a brick wall. But can the Spartan offense get up early and put this away?
It’ll be another Michigan State game just like the last two wins over Indiana and Central Michigan. There won’t be a whole lot of problems, but there will be moments when it looks like the game will turn.
And then it won’t, and it’ll be another forgettable win. MSU quietly keeps piling up the victories.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Michigan State 30, Northwestern 17
Line: Michigan State -11.5, o/u: 46.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 2.5
5: First Man
1: ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast