Michigan State football will face Northwestern on Saturday afternoon in East Lansing with upset on the mind. Will the Spartans pull this one off?
Who could have guessed that Northwestern would be the No. 8 team in the nation five games into the Big Ten season? Definitely not me nor anyone else who followed the Wildcats last season and saw how bad they were en route to a 3-9 campaign.
Northwestern is now 5-0 and ranked eighth in the first playoff poll and there’s a chance this team could make that Final Four by winning out and beating Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
First, though, the Wildcats will have to get through Northwestern.
How does the Spartan Avenue staff see this one playing out?
Connor Muldowney: Honestly, I don’t feel like this is as un-winnable as some experts are making it out to be. Sure, the Spartans looked bad against Indiana and Iowa, but the defense is improving each week and if Payton Thorne can take that next step at quarterback, Michigan State might just pull this upset off. Northwestern and Michigan State always seem to play close games and this one will be a defensive battle. First one to 20 wins.
Final Score: Northwestern 20, Michigan State 17
Carter Landis: Michigan State just hasn’t looked like they can even keep it close the last few weeks. The quarterback position could go back to Rocky, or Thorne could take over as the starter full time going forward. Either way, Northwestern forces turnovers, and Michigan State turns the ball over a lot.
Final Score: Northwestern 28, Michigan State 10
Jack Williams: Northwestern is very clearly overrated and that will become clear as the season progresses. The Wildcats will struggle early, but eventually put away Michigan State with relative ease.
Final Score: Northwestern 38, Michigan State 17
Stephen Robb: If Northwestern wins Saturday, it’ll be Big Ten West division champs. While the Wildcats’ offense has been OK, their defense is stellar. The Spartans are going to have a tough time moving the pigskin. MSU’s defense has been showing toughness and heart. However it will not be enough.
Final Score: Northwestern 28, Michigan State 3