Michigan State (3-1) at Iowa (4-1) (12:00 p.m. ET, on ESPN2)
Line: Iowa -1 (Bovada)
Last Meeting: 2012: 19-16 Iowa
3 Players to Watch:
1) Connor Cook (QB, MSU):It seems like Cook has been a player to watch every week this year; unfortunately, it has not been a pretty watch. Last week Cook completed 16 of his 32 attempts for 135 yards and one touchdown. He has looked decent at times, but always seems to show his inaccuracy throughout the game. Cook did not show his “mobility” against Notre Dame and only rushed for 4 yards on 4 attempts. Connor needs to show something this week if the Spartans hope to start off the B1G season with a win. Maybe he needs to set his feet, maybe he just needs to throw better. I am not going to try to analyze why he has been ineffective, but he has. If Cook starts out slow we may see Tyler O’Connor, though no one knows what will actually happen with this QB situation as was shown at the end of last weeks game.
2) Mark Weisman (HB, Iowa): Weisman broke onto the scene last year and has continued his success in 2013. He is currently the 4th leading rusher in the nation with 615 yards three touchdowns. Mark has rushed for 100 or more yards in 4 of his 5 games this year. In last years meeting, Weisman ran for 116 yards and a score. If he can have similar success this week it may result in a W for his team. The Spartans will certainly key on the run, hoping to have better success in stopping Weisman than they did a year ago. If they cannot stop him it may get ugly fast for Michigan State.
3) Jamal Lyles (TE, MSU): Lyles was recently moved to offense from defensive end in hopes of playing time and the hope his athletic ability would shine on the offensive end. Though he hasn’t caught many balls, his three catches for 35 yards were impressive. Lyles showed that he has the potential to be a mismatch at the Tight End position and that is something the Spartans need badly. I am not sure how much playing time he will get, but I would keep an eye out for him when he does line-up on offense because of his potential to make a big play.
Well the quarterback situation has once again become blurry. Mark Dantonio confused a lot of people by subbing in Andrew Maxwell for the last drive of the Notre Dame game, but Cook looks to still be the “guy”. Will he look good enough this week for the Spartans to win on the road? I have my doubts, but I do think that running game can give MSU an opportunity to win.
Michigan State’s defense looked good once again. The Spartans held Notre Dame to 17 points, but the offense could not do enough to win. Maybe the defense needs to score more than the offense for the Spartans to win? It must be frustrating being part of that defense, having to watch the offense struggle weekly. Honestly it has not seemed to dishearten this defense and I expect them to have another strong game. They should be able to give the offense an opportunity to win the game.
Winning in South Bend did not work out; will winning in Iowa City? It will be a tall task, but the Spartans could leave with a win. The offense must move the ball enough to score a few time and special teams may need to make a play (looking at you MacGarrett Kings). Lets just hope this is not a complete snoozefest, though it has all the makings of a 10-7 slugfest.
My pick: Michigan State 17, Iowa 14