It’s that time of the week again… we’re all working hard for the weekend, ready for some residential tailgating tomorrow. This weekend provides an interesting matchup for our beloved ‘Cats, and our predictions really run the gambit. Without further ado, here are the picks!
Game Projection: The ‘Cats continue to find the end zone early against tough defense, as Mark rushes for two scores in the first stanza. Sparty is able to pick up solid yardage on the ground, but has to settle for field goals. As the game progresses, State is forced to go to the air, and finds success against a weak secondary. A failed drive by NU to seal the game gives MSU a chance for the win, but the ‘Cats hold strong on 4th and 6 to close out the contest.
Score: NU 28 – MSU 27
Game Highlight: Venrick (Ricky) Mark 65 yard TD run
Game Projection: First, of all – shout out to Mike Roche for just about nailing last week’s pick and final score. This game pits our strength (offense) against MSU’s strength (defense), and likewise our weakness (defense) against their weakness (offense). The Cats again go to the ground with the Colter/Mark combo early, but expect to see Trevor Siemian a good amount in this game. I expect a close and tightly contested game throughout. Michigan State’s conservative playcalling and reluctance to put the ball in the hands of Andrew Maxwell and test our secondary will ultimately bite them. A good day from Jeff Budzien will put us over the top, as a mid fourth quarter field goal will be the difference.
Score: NU 23 – MSU 21
Game Highlight: Christian Jones 30 yd TD reception
Game Projection: This is essentially a blind projection as we don’t know how productive Colter will be this week given his injury. I do think Siemian needs some quality PT to balance the offensive gameplan, but if we have to predominantly rely on him we’re in trouble. Having said that, I think the Colter and Mark combo will be productive enough to get us over the top. I wouldn’t have said this a week ago, but the Colter-led offense was able to move the ball relatively effectively against a solid Michigan front seven. MSU’s offense is just not as potent as what we saw last week. As long as the ‘Cats come out swinging and play aggressive, I think they’ll actually be able to build a big enough lead to hold off MSU late.
Score: NU 26 – MSU 17
Game Highlight: Tyler Scott sack in the endzone for a safety
Game projection: Northwestern gets challenged early and often through the air, and Nick Van Hoose isn’t there to help out. Sparty puts up two early scores before the ‘Cats know what happened. A long, sustained drive by Kain and Venric before half ends with Venric finding the endzone. Halftime has MSU leading 14-10. Going away from their workhorse running back Le’veon Bell in favor of attacking a depleted NU secondary, MSU gets on the board again in the 3rd, taking a 21-10 lead. That’s the last time they will see the endzone. Northwestern answers with two scoring drives, one by Kain/Venric and another by Trevor has the #B1GCats take a 24-21 lead. A late 4th quarter drive by MSU to answer ends in an Andrew Maxwell pick-6, courtesy of Demetrius Dugar, sealing the win.
Score: NU 31 – MSU 21
Game Highlight: Dugar pick-6
The warriors seem to have a little more faith in the ‘Cats this weekend, as all four founding fathers are predicting a W. Let’s see how it shakes out tomorrow. One thing is for sure, it’s bound to be a close one.