Michigan State (9-1)(6-0 B1G) at Northwestern (4-6)(0-6 B1G) (12:00 p.m. ET, on ESPN)
Line: MSU -6.5 (Bovada)
Last Meeting: 2012: 23-20 Northwestern
3 Players to Watch:
1) Jeremy Langford (HB, MSU):Well Jeremy Langford has continued to flourish over the last few weeks at the running back position. Langford has over 100 yards rushing in each of his last 5 games and now has 13 touchdowns on the year. So far this season, every game that Langford gets 20 or more carries he has averaged 118 yards on the ground. I think that Mark Dantonio and co. have recognized that because Langford has been given at least 22 carries over the last 5 games. He has become an extremely important part of this offense and will need to continue to play well as the Spartans need one more win to clinch the Legends division. I think Jeremy will get his 20 carries, plus some, while he has a good day at Northwestern.
2) Kain Colter (QB/HB/WR, NU.):Well I am not sure what position I would consider Colter, but he is a playmaker and one the MSU defense needs to be aware of. Usually Kain will pass somewhere between 6-10 times per game and run anywhere from 8-20 times as well. Oh, he can also line up at wide receiver and catch the ball. His durability is impressive and his speed makes him dynamic. Against Michigan, Colter completed 4 passes for 26 yards and also ran 19 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. On the season he has 4 passing touchdowns and 6 rushing touchdowns. If Northwestern can pull the upset, its likely that Kain Colter had a big day.
3) Max Bullough (MLB, MSU): No one wants to guarantee a place in the B1G Title game more than Max. He has been the brains of the Spartan defense for four years and continues to make an impact each and every game. On the year, Bullough has 61 tackles, 7 being for a loss as well as 10 quarterback hurries. Northwestern has a great offense and if Michigan State can slow them down I am sure that Max Bullough will be a huge reason why. Look for him to be making quite a few audibles this weekend.
Northwestern’s defense isn’t bad, but they have been giving up 26 points per game. Connor Cook and Michigan State’s offense should be able to move the ball. I have to continue to give credit to the progression of MSU’s wide outs who seem to make big plays for their quarterback each game. I would also look for Jeremy Langford to find some holes in the Northwestern defense which should open up the field for some long play action passes.
Northwestern has a pretty scary offense. Though they have been unlucky this year, they are still very explosive. Michigan State’s defense has been awesome but they have seemed prone to giving up the big play. I think Narduzzi would agree and I am sure that his defense will be up to the task this weekend. The Wildcats offense against Spartan’s defense will be a ton of fun to watch.
Michigan State can clinch the Legends Division with a win in Evanston. Northwestern is a very scary team, similar to the Spartans a year ago. They haven’t gotten any of the bounces this year and it has shown in the loss column. The Spartan’s cannot rely on that being the case and must be prepared to play a very good team. I think Michigan State will be ready and will take claim to the Legends Division title this weekend.
My pick: Michigan State 34, Northwestern 21