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TOC Staff Picks: Northwestern vs. Michigan State

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After an off week, can the Spartans upset the highly ranked Wildcats? See what our writers think.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

After not being able to square off with Maryland, MSU is fresh for its matchup with Northwestern.

The Wildcats come in as double-digit favorites after a win over Wisconsin. Can the Spartans pull off an upset? See what our writers think.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 20, Northwestern 17

I have literally zero reason to believe that Michigan State will win this game, which probably means the Spartans will shock us all. Plus, Northwestern is due for an upset. I expect a low-scoring game, Northwestern has a stout defense, but its offense isn’t all too impressive. Michigan State is going to struggle moving the ball, no doubt about it, but if the offense can sustain a few drives, eliminate mental mistakes and not turn the ball over (and the defense can generate a takeaway or two itself), I think the first to 20 points or so can win this game. If Michigan State continues to have turnover issues, this prediction will not even be close and Northwestern wins going away.

David Harns

Northwestern 28, Michigan State 17

MSU’s offense shows some signs of life and puts 17 points on the Spartan Stadium scoreboard. But the defense gives up 28.

Zach Manning

Northwestern 24, Michigan State 3

I have very little confidence in the MSU offense to be able to move the ball against a top tier defense. I think the offense turns the ball over, leaving the defense in some bad spots. Northwestern jumps out to an early lead and never looks back.

Matt Sheehan

Northwestern 17, Michigan State -13

MSU is coming off of two games where they scored a combined one (1) touchdown against average-to-good defenses. Northwestern’s defense is a WAGON this year. MSU’s best offensive option is going to be Shakur Brown taking a pick to the house or Jayden Reed going 102 yards on a kickoff return.

Excuse me for being negative, but I just don’t see how the offense is moving the ball – let alone scoring – on Saturday.

Paul Fanson

Northwestern 35, Michigan State 7

No matter how I run the numbers, this one does not end well for the Spartans. The line opened under 10 points but it has been moving in Northwestern’s direction ever since. To make matters worse, Northwestern is 7-0 against the spread in East Lansing since at least 2002 and my computer agrees. All I can say is the probability is not destiny. Football is a crazy game and while Northwestern looks like the better team, they only have 60 minutes to prove it. That’s why you play the game.

Kevin Knight

Northwestern 20, Michigan State 10

This Wildcats team is looking Indy bound after a rough 3-9 season last year. MSU has the defense to keep it from being a blowout, but absolutely has to control the ball and avoid turnovers on offense to give the defense a chance. I’d love to see an upset, but I just can’t bring myself to predict one after the last few games.

Some of The Only Colors staff will participate weekly in full conference picks, using Tallysight. You can keep up to date with our staff’s selections here.