Michigan State vs Northwestern Prediction, Game Preview

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State vs Northwestern Prediction, Game Preview

College Football Predictions

Michigan State vs Northwestern Prediction, Game Preview

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Michigan State vs Northwestern prediction and game preview.


Michigan State vs Northwestern Broadcast

Date: Friday, September 3
Game Time: 9:00 ET
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Network: ESPN

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Michigan State (0-0) vs Northwestern (0-0) Game Preview


Why Michigan State Will Win

It’s not going to be the pathetic and sad 2019 version, but there’s a chance the Northwestern offense – which wasn’t exactly Alabama last year – takes a massive step back.

The Wildcats weren’t explosive, but they were ultra-efficient in the way they controlled the tempo and made teams play at their level.

Two big issues that might keep that happening this time around. 1) Hunter Johnson. The former Clemson super-recruit struggled when he got to Northwestern, but now he’s the starter after beating out South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski. 2) RB Cam Porter was all set to be the star to work the O around, but he’s out for the year after suffering a leg injury.

Michigan State’s offense is nothing special, but the defense should be a whole lot stronger in Year Two under Mel Tucker. As long as the Spartans don’t give the ball away like Halloween candy – hello, 2020 season opener against Rutgers – they should be able to keep this close.

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Why Northwestern Will Win

Yeah, Northwestern’s offense might be a concern, but Michigan State’s is an unstoppable worry bully.

There should be an improvement on the Spartan O, but only because there’s nowhere to go but up after finishing dead last in the Big Ten in yards and scoring.

The quarterback situation is still up in the air late in the process, the offensive line has to prove it can pound away, and the Northwestern defense is once again going to be a brick wall.

And the Wildcat offense? Johnson at least is experienced enough to know what he’s doing now, and the O line should be able to control the Spartan defensive front.

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What’s Going To Happen

It’s hard to describe how the Northwestern thing works, but there’s no margin for error whatsoever.

The 2020 Wildcats were terrific, but they lost to Michigan State because they turned it over four times. They came back to make it close late in the 29-20 clunker, but they had to be nearly perfect to win games last year, and they weren’t that in East Lansing.

And they won’t be sharp enough this time around in Evanston.

Michigan State is still a while away from being a factor, but Tucker brought in a ton of good new parts, the offense will be just a bit better, and veteran PK Matt Coghlin – who hit 3-of-4 field goals in last year’s win – is steady enough to hit a game-winner late in a dogfight of a game.

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Michigan State vs Northwestern Prediction, Line

Michigan State 24, Northwestern 23
Northwestern -4, o/u: 45
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5

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