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BSD Staff Predictions - Michigan State Spartans

RUTS Says...

Perhaps it's simple human nature that has so many people worried about this game, despite the experts in Vegas making Penn State a two-touchdown favorite over Michigan State.  (I think Michigan State covers, for what it's worth.)  The team has clearly wobbled since stepping onto the field in Columbus.  They're back home tomorrow and while it will be cold, the weather shouldn't substantially affect the play of either team.  These are all good things for the Lions, who are likely to start fast with so much on the line.  For Michigan State, it's been a very good year, but I don't expect them to give Penn State too much trouble.  All of the standard caviats apply here -- turnovers and missed red zone opportunities can keep any game close -- but Penn State is the better team.  Enjoy your last opportunity to see Derrick Williams and his fellow seniors at Beaver Stadium.  As for Joe Paterno...
Penn State 33, Michigan State 20

Kevin Says...

For all the reasons the Iowa game made me nervous, I'm very optimistic about Michigan State.  For one thing, the point spread seems unusually high, meaning Vegas has some confidence.  From the quotes in the media, it sounds like Clark is back to himself.  The game is at home and I have to think the team and crowd will understand the significance of what is essentially a championship game.
I detailed Penn State's first down play calling because I really think that is where this game is won or lost.  Even with a horrible Iowa game, Evan Royster is still averaging 6.5 yards per an attempt, and I expect the offense to use him often on first down.  Michigan State is giving up 4.3 yards per an attempt, that's 10th in the Big Ten, and the offense will be very effective if they can consistently get into 2nd and 5.  If Penn State can avoid the negative yardage play (either from sacks or miscued outside runs), they should be able to grind this one out.  Michigan State will likely try to do the same, but I'm not sure they have the passing game to keep Penn State's defense honest.  I suspect the Penn State defense will look a lot like the one that played in Columbus, with the Spartans moving the ball on a couple of big passing plays but otherwise being relatively inept with the ball.
Penn State 28, Michigan State 10

Mike Says...

If there is one thing I've learned in the past two years, it's that in football past results are an indication of future gains. The offensive line has been struggling lately. I suspect a lot of it has to do with Wisneiwski's injured knee. Royster hasn't had much room to run. Clark has struggled with accuracy and confidence. Recievers have trouble catching the ball. But through it all the defense has been good when allowed to be aggresive.

I see Penn State coming out to another slow start. Stop me if you're heard this before. The game will be tied at the end of the first quarter, but Penn State will get a few scores and pull away in the second quarter. We'll later wish they were touchdowns instead of field goals. We'll come out and extend the lead early in the second half, and then Tom Bradley will sit back in that damn Cover-3 and the corners will line up eight yards off the line. A blown coverage will give Sparty an easy score to get them going. The offense will go three and out after running right up the middle on first and second down. Hoyer will start picking us apart nine yards at a time and Michigan State will climb back into the game. We'll adjust in the fourth quarter and go back to playing tight in the secondary, but by then MSU will be back to within one score. They'll hand the ball off to Javon Ringer who will run over a defense that is gassed from chasing guys around since halftime.

If I'm right, this game is going to be a dog fight. I think Michigan State is going to find the ball in their hands with a chance to win the game late. Penn State is going to find themselves in need of a defensive stand to preserve their Rose Bowl season. I honestly I think this game can go either way, but the team that wants it more and finds a way to overcome the fatigue is going to win. Look for the winning team to get a few lucky breaks from the officials.

Penn State 30  Michigan State 24