Michigan State Football: Game by game predictions for 2015 season

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Oct 4, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers tight end Sam Cotton (84) defends against Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MSU won 27-22. Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State will definitely get its bye week at the perfect time. After starting the season 7-0, the Spartans will get a bye right before a tough four-game stretch in which Mark Dantonio’s squad will be forced to take on three of the conference’s best teams.

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The first of the four-game stretch will be at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have given MSU some of the toughest games in the past three years since joining the Big Ten.

Bo Pelini is gone from the sidelines, along with his cat, and former Oregon State head coach Mike Riley has taken over the program, hoping to lead it back to the glory days.

Riley will have some major help in returning starter Tommy Armstrong Jr. at quarterback as he might be on of the top-three gunslingers in the conference. His dual-threat ability could cause some problems for Michigan State, but it has prepared often times over the past few years for scrambling QBs such as Denard Robinson, Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, Taylor Martinez, Kain Colter and also this kid.

Terrell Newby will be in his first year as starting running back as Abdullah went on to the NFL, leaving the run game’s success in question.

De’Mornay Pierson-El was expected to be a top wide receiver threat for this team, as well as a solid return man who scored a punt return TD against MSU last year in a near-comeback. However, he’s out for some time after an injury suffered in fall camps and might miss this game. Sure-handed Jordan Westerkamp will be returning, though.

The defense was mediocre a season ago and after losing five starters, as depth at LB wears thin, the Cornhuskers may have yet another season of struggles on that side of the ball.

There’s no doubt that this game will be extremely tight throughout and it will go down to the wire, as it seemingly always does, with the Spartans narrowly sneaking out a huge road victory.

Prediction: Michigan State 34, Nebraska 30 (9-0)

Next: Week 11: Maryland