Yeah, it’s Michigan State going down the road to Kalamazoo to face an interesting Western Michigan squad with a hot young head coach in P.J. Fleck. It’s a chance for Spartan fans to make an easy road trip, but it’s also a shot for MSU to go up against a dangerous offense a week before it has to face Oregon. For the Broncos, this is it. This is the chance. This is the shot to come up with a program-defining moment against a program good enough to be thinking College Football Playoff. Western Michigan might be just good enough to make this scary.
Below we dive into the Michigan State vs. Western Michigan prediction and full game preview.
Michigan State vs. Western Michigan Prediction & Preview
Date: Friday, September 4
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Why You Need To Care
Michigan State has all the pressure in the world on its shoulders now. Everyone thinks Ohio State is going to win the Big Ten East, and everyone is focusing on the Jim Harbaugh era kicking off in Ann Arbor, but after a few years of rapping on the door of being truly special, the Spartans might have the right formula this year. They might be looking ahead a bit to a possible season-making moment against Oregon – at least until the Ohio State showdown – but with the defense needing to replace Ed Davis after a fall camp knee injury, and with new skill players being folded into the equation for Connor Cook to work with, there’s work to be done.
Western Michigan went from next-level awful in 2013 to respectable and fun last season with way-too-young head coach P.J. Fleck – he’s 34 – and his way-too-young team finding a groove and putting some massive numbers on the board. This is a dangerous steam with a dangerous offense that returns nine starters from a group that was sixth in the nation in passing efficiency and great at keeping the chains moving. Now the Broncos will know what they’ve got early on going against a top five-caliber team.
Why Michigan State Will Win
It’s a new year, but last season, Western Michigan’s offense kicked in when the running game was rolling. Big numbers from Jarvion Franklin and the ground attack didn’t always lead to wins, but when nothing was working, the Broncos bogged down going 0-4 when they failed to hit the 100-yard mark. How many teams ran for 100 yards or more on Michigan State last season? Four, and two of them were Oregon and Ohio State. The defensive front might be the best yet under Mark Dantonio, and that includes the group that finished No. 1 in the nation against the run last year. It’s going to stop the run and take its chances against WMU QB Zach Terrell throwing the ball, however …
Why Western Michigan Will Win
Terrell can throw. The Broncos threw for 200 yards or more in every game but one last season, and the offense has the firepower with Terrell and WR Corey Davis one of the MAC’s most dangerous pitch-and-catch combinations. The overall pass defense numbers might rock for the Spartans, but they got torched from time to time, giving up 200 yard or more seven times. This will be the typically talented Michigan State secondary, but it should be able to be thrown on if Terrell gets time. That’s going to be a problem, but when he’s able to work, he should be effective.
Player Who Matters
Can Jarvion Franklin find any room whatsoever against the Michigan State defensive front? Thrown to the wolves as a true freshman, the 6-0, 220-pound showed off a great combination of speed and power on the way to 1,551 yards and 24 touchdowns. With Corey Davis among the MAC’s best receivers, and Terrell certain to be one of the league’s statistically best quarterbacks, Western Michigan has the offensive triplets. Michigan State’s defense can’t phone this in.
What’s Going To Happen?
Despite being only 80 miles apart, this is just the tenth meeting between the two with Michigan State going 9-0, including a 16-7 fight in 1918. As good as the Broncos might be, they’re about to hit a brick wall in a Spartan defense that should camp out in the backfield. Will Western Michigan have the pass rush to bother MSU quarterback Connor Cook? Nope.
Michigan State vs. Western Michigan Score Prediction
It’s that time, ladies and gentlemen. The Michigan STate vs. Western Michigan prediction is …
Final Score: Michigan State 40, Western Michigan 17
Must See Rating: 5: True Detective, Season 1 – 1: True Detective, Season 2 … 3