Michigan State and Northwestern equally open Big Ten and Northwestern play, appearing to shield its Western Division crown.
The Wildcats have won eight consecutive regular-season Big Ten matches and 15 of the past 16. They’ve also beaten Michigan State three years in a row, averaging 40.6 points each game against the Spartans.
Northwestern’s offense is trying hard to overcome injuries to several key players, nevertheless. Quarterback T.J. Green was lost for the season in Northwestern’s opening game loss to Stanford.
Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson take over at dusk, and he had a last weekend, even passing for 165 yards on 12-of-25 passing.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald sounds like he’s expecting Johnson to be a game director, not the celebrity.
“He took what the defense gave him. He did not attempt to force anything,” Fitzgerald said in his weekly press conference.
At running back northwestern is banged up. Isaiah Bowser suffered a knee injury in the opener. He’s been practicing but missed the UNLV game.
Jesse Brown went down leaving the conducting errands to Drake Anderson, who ran for 141 yards
Even the Spartans come to Evanston with a few of the greatest defenses in the country.
Michigan State is letting 23.3 yards per game to the ground, good for the No. 2 rushing defense.
The Spartans will be the No. 3 overall protection, at 216 metres per game allowed.
They’re even called in sacks (4.3 per game), twelfth in scoring (11.3 points enabled ) and No. 20 in turnovers, with 6.
Head coach Mark Dantonio isn’t happy, though, stating that the D wants to”be perfect” and hammering them for permitting a late touchdown drive by Arizona State in the past week’s 10-7 loss.
On offense, the Spartans are directed by Brian Lewerke, that ranks second in the Big Ten and receiver Darrell Stewart, second in the league in catches.
The line is a problem. The Spartans are in their fourth handle, with dropped Cole Chewins and AJ Arcuri in the year.
Last week, Kevin Jarvis will miss seven or six months with a knee injury and went down.
The line appears skies high for a street team, but with the offense hobbling and facing the Spartan D of Northwestern, it’s hard to see that the Wildcats setting up enough points to pay. Search to win by double digits.
Free Pick: Michigan State -9.5 (-112) with BetOnline
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