Matt Charboneau, Angelique S. Chengelis, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan State vs. Western Michigan game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing (7:30 p.m., BTN/760).
►Matt Charboneau: Just a week into the season, the grumbling has begun over the Spartans’ offense. There were some changes in the opener but hardly enough to make the fans happy, and with only one touchdown produced by the offense, the results are lagging as well. Turning things around against Western Michigan is no piece of cake as the Broncos always play tough in state, but per usual, expect the MSU defense to keep anything crazy from happening. Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 13
►Angelique S. Chengelis: So the MSU offense didn’t look like a juggernaut in the opener, and Mark Dantonio voiced his displeasure, but there are plenty of solid pieces there that should come together. But yes, scoring one offensive touchdown and getting only 108 rushing yards against Tulsa isn’t going to be enough once the grueling Big Ten schedule starts. The MSU defense is, essentially, an afterthought – it’s terrific. Has been and will continue to be, but it can’t be relied on to score points. Here comes Western Michigan, which is more than a two-touchdown underdog. Maybe the MSU offense won’t get it completely together Saturday night, but it will be just enough and the defense will do the rest. Michigan State 24, Western Michigan 6
►John Niyo: Mark Dantonio didn't mince any words when he talked about his offense this week. But the head coach lighting a fire will feel more like a smoke screen if the play-calling doesn't find a better way to cover up some of the issues on that offensive line against a MAC opponent. Michigan State 34, Western Michigan 14
►Bob Wojnowski: This should be a better test for the Spartans’ impenetrable defense, as Broncos QB Jon Wassink can fling it. He’ll be forced to, because there’s little chance Western Michigan will move it on the ground. Mark Dantonio desperately wants to see his team run, but if stuffed again, he can’t be stubborn. The Broncos are capable of hanging around and Michigan State can’t mess around. Brian Lewerke will score twice on runs to pull away. Michigan State 27, Western Michigan 13