Michigan State Football: Game by game predictions for 2015 season

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Aug 30, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Western Michigan Broncos offensive linesman Jon Hoffing (71) prepares to snap the ball during 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Western Michigan isn’t going to be the pushover opponent that everyone is hoping for in the season opener next Friday.

Related: Breaking down MSU Football’s 2015 depth chart

Michigan State goes into the game with one of the top defenses in the nation and an offense that could use some work, in terms of skill positions. The Spartans will need to find a receiver to take over the No. 1 role and whether that’s DeAnthony Arnett, Aaron Burbridge, Macgarrett Kings Jr. or R.J. Shelton is yet to be seen.

As for Western’s offense, the Broncos return three key players, and nine starters, from a season ago. Quarterback Zach Terrell, who passed for over 3,400 yards last year, Freshman All-American running back Jarvion Franklin, who had 1,551 yards and 24 touchdowns last year, and top wide out Corey Davis (1,408 yards) all return for the 2015 campaign.

The Spartans’ defense will have its hands full as the 39th-ranked total offense from last season remains virtually the same.

However, Michigan State’s defense will get off to a hot start, as it has for the past few years, and help carry the team to victory. Don’t sleep on the offense, either, as the Spartans will march up and down the field even with a new running back and an unproven group of wide outs.

Prediction: Michigan State 44, Western Michigan 20 (1-0)

Next: Week 2: Oregon