YOUR MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs. THE CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
SPARTAN STADIUM, EAST LANSING, MI
TV: ESPNU RADIO: SPARTAN SPORTS NETWORK: (AFFILIATES)
EAST LANSING VISITORS GUIDE: HERE!
Where to attack the defense though? Kentucky beat CMU on the ground (averaged 6.4 yards a carry), while Western Michigan triumphed through the air (355 passing yards, 9.3 yards per attempt). It looks like the Chippewas are vulnerable either way, and Michigan State will have to decide how long they want to stick with the run if it was as ineffective as it was against Notre Dame. Then again, I doubt we'll see a guard on one side of the center and the entirety of the offensive line on the other side as well.
The kicker is David Harman. He had a decent year in 2010, going 9-12 on his field goals (perfect from inside the 40), but has only gone 1-3 this year, making one inside the 20 and missing two from between 30 and 39 yards. Another strange note about Harman's 2010 year -- he missed as many extra points (23-26) as he did field goals on the season. The punter is Richie Hogan; he averages 39.1 yards per punt. As Detective Homer Simpson would say, "That's the end of that chapter."
SO, WHITHER MICHIGAN STATE?
I'm not too worried about MSU's defense. They were only at fault for 21 of Notre Dame's 31 points last week, held them to under five yards a play, and had a few big plays. Kurtis Drummond is now the third cornerback when MSU is in a five defensive back set, and will most likely be an upgrade over Mitchell White at that position. If consistent breakdowns happen on defense, be very afraid.
The offense? Who knows. The good news is that new right tackle Fou Fonoti played there in camp, and Travis Jackson was in heavy competition with Blake Treadwell to start at center. I'm 98% sure Michigan State is going to win this game, but I'm not sure how they're going to win it. I could see the offensive line coalescing to the point where Baker, Bell, and Caper can consistently move the ball down the field. I can also see the line struggling to the point where Kirk Cousins attempts more than 40 passes to win the game. Either way though, I believe MSU wins. I'm just not sure how comfortable I'll be.
FINAL SCORE: MICHIGAN STATE 31, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 9