Spartans vs Wildcats
With Iowa on deck next week, Michigan State who has already exceeded expectations by being ranked 8th in the nation, plays at Northwestern this week. The Spartans who wont get their first week off until November 13th, have played many emotional and tough games so far this year. Can they continue putting this effort forth every week? Will they suffer some kind of a letdown knowing that Iowa is their next game? Will the week off for the Wildcats help them scheme against the Spartans?
When Michigan State has the ball:
There is a huge physicality edge for the Spartans in this game. The smaller linebackers and safeties of Northwestern will have to try and tackle a trio of physical backs who always have fresh legs. I expect Spartan ball carriers, such as, Baker, Caper, and Bell, to lean forward a few yards on every play making stops difficult for Northwestern. And when Northwestern starts to commit more men to the line of scrimmage, QB Cousins will go over their heads for some big play action passes. Expect the Spartans to be able to score some points in this one.
When Northwestern has the ball:
Northwestern likes to attack with the legs and arm of QB Persa who makes Northwestern look like a one man team at times. The offense features a read option with Persa keeping the ball most of the time. But the Wildcats often will fake the run and have Persa get the ball out quickly with some short to mid range passes. His completion percentage is excellent and throws well on the run. I expect the Wildcats will try to get Persa out on the edge where he is a dual threat and try to control the time of possession by making short throws.
With a week off, some fresh legs, and a Sparty team that might be looking ahead, Northwestern could give the Spartans some trouble on defense if they dont come prepared. If so, a high scoring game can be expected in Evanston.