Detroit News predictions: MSU vs. Northwestern

The Detroit News


Hunter Rison

Matt Charboneau, Angelique S. Chengelis, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News predict the outcome of Saturday's Michigan State-Northwestern game (3:30 p.m. ESPN, 760)

Matt Charboneau: With the reality of playing for a division title now settling in for the Spartans, getting past Northwestern and not looking ahead to Penn State will be the focus. Michigan State continues to have a hard time scoring points while relying on its defense. That could be the case again in the matchup with Northwestern, a team that has won two straight. But MSU hasn’t lost in Evanston since 2001 and likely won’t start now. Michigan State 24-20

Angelique S. Chengelis: Neither team should expect much running room, although the Spartans have relied on the run the last three games, since both defenses are pretty good against the run. MSU’s defense is now ranked No. 4 nationally and will have to subdue the Wildcats’ high-tempo offense that features senior running back Justin Jackson, who has 603 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and a solid quarterback in Clayton Thorson. There has been some talk this could be a “trap game” for the Spartans with Penn State looming the next week, but they will take care of business in Evanston. Michigan State 17-10

John Niyo: It feels like a trap. But if Michigan State's defense continues to stop the run, there's no reason the Spartans can't keep this rolling for another week and raise the stakes for the Penn State game on Nov. 4.  Michigan State 23-14

Bob Wojnowski: It’s time to talk about how good the Spartans’ defense might be, just in time, actually. Because the Wildcats are starting to play tough defense too, and running back Justin Jackson is getting untracked. Neither team is lighting it up in the passing game, and for the Spartans to prevail on the road, Brian Lewerke will have to pop a couple. He will, and Michigan State will make the fourth-quarter plays again to pull it out. Michigan State 20-16


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