Detroit News predictions: Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

The Detroit News

Matt Charboneau, Angelique S. Chengelis, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Friday’s Michigan State vs. Wake Forest game in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium (3:20 p.m., ESPN/760 AM).

Brian Lewerke

►Matt Charboneau: Motivation is always a factor in lower-tier bowl games like this one and it’s fair to question where it lies for the Spartans, who had to win the final two games to be bowl eligible, and the Demon Deacons, who lost three of the last four. Wake Forest has excelled at moving the ball this season, ranking second in the ACC in both scoring offense and total offense. However, the Deacons have struggled defensively, leaving the door open for the Spartans. But with an offense that ranks 107th in the nation in scoring, it’s hard to see MSU manufacturing enough points in this one to finish the season above .500. Wake Forest 20, Michigan State 17

►Angelique S. Chengelis: Teams are always looking to make "statements," right? Hear it all the time. But Michigan State definitely needs to make one in this Pinstripe Bowl to bump the Spartans above .500 for the season and give them a dose of positive feelings heading into 2020. And this has the makings of that kind of game. It's not about making a statement against Wake Forest but making a statement for themselves. The Wake Forest defense has issues, and the Spartans will have a chance to give their offense a boost. The MSU defense maybe wasn't quite as stout as had been projected heading into the season, but Wake will give the Spartans a chance to puff their chests and say, "This is what we should have been all season." Wake is ranked 12th nationally in total offense (473.4 yards) and 18th in passing (297.8) and the Demon Deacons run a lot of plays. Michigan State is 18th nationally in total defense, giving up an average 319.2 yards, so this is where the game will be decided. Michigan State 24, Wake Forest 20

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►John Niyo: Michigan State's seniors sound determined to end their careers on a positive note. But it'll be up to a young offensive line whether the Spartans can match a Wake Forest team that ranks 12th nationally in total offense and converts better than 47 percent of its third downs. That may be too tall an order for this group. Wake Forest 27, Michigan State 21

►Bob Wojnowski: There isn't a ton at stake for the Spartans, but the difference between a 7-6 and 6-7 season is worth playing for. Wake Forest's fast-paced offense will be a test for a Michigan State defense that's still a strength. The main questions haven’t changed: Can the Spartans run the ball? Can Brian Lewerke make a few big plays with his legs? Just a few is all they'll need. Michigan State 22, Wake Forest 17