Prediction Friday – Michigan State

MSU NU.jpg

The ‘Cats take on MSU this week in our first B1G matchup of the year. It’s a big one and NU has taken down Sparty the last three times the teams have met. Are the Warriors expecting a fourth straight victory this week?

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
nulogo sparty sparty nulogo sparty nulogo nulogo

 

 

TRENT

Game Summary: So the ‘Cats took care of business at home against a lackluster UNLV team. Hunter Johnson showed signs of life and made some nice deep throws, though his WRs let him down a few times with drops. He still looked uncomfortable but seemed to get his legs under him as the game went on, and threw his first TD pass as a Wildcat to an open JJ Jefferson.

 

Unfortunately this week is a much tougher test. Comparing UNLV’s defense to Michigan State’s is like comparing a sand castle to a medieval castle. We will struggle to move the ball, and I guarantee they’ll sell out to stop the run and force us to pass. Is Hunter ready to take the reins in a B1G game? I’m not so sure.

 

The good news is I believe the coaching staff sat Bowser last week to heal up and get ready for a bruising B1G schedule. While Drake Anderson looked nice and shifty last week, he won’t be able to have that same level of success against a B1G defense. This is the time for Bowser Ball and I expect him to get 25+ carries in this game. If he can give us a semblance of a running game against Sparty, we’ll have a shot. If he can’t, and Hunter needs to carry us through the air, I fear we’re in trouble.

 

It’s a bummer that MSU lost last week to ASU. Not only do they lose their ranking (I like it when we play ranked teams), but the heartbreaking manner in which they lost will make them even more motivated to come out swinging this week. MSU is favored by 10 and the over under is a measly 40 points…yet I still think that’s far too high. We’ll keep it close and this will be a typical low scoring B1G game. We’ve beaten Sparty three times in a row, but I just can’t see us getting to four.
 

 

Game Score: NU 10 – MSU 13

 

Play of the Game: Bowser takes it in for a 5 yard score

 

Player to Watch: Bowser – will he be healthy enough to shoulder a big load? Hunter – can he play competent football against a B1G defense?

 

Warrior to Watch: Rankin. Feel like he’s got it in for MSU.

 

Other Game to Watch: Michigan @ Wisco. Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 110-0 in the first two games…let’s see how they handle their first real test in the Wolverines.

 

DOC ROCHE

 

I always respect the amount of time/thought that Trent puts into his posts. Dear readers, have faith that I will do no such thing.

 

GET EXCITED FOR A BATTLE OF TWO UNINSPIRING TEAMS. BIG TEN FOOTBALL AT ITS FINEST.

 

Game Score: ‘Cats 17 – MSU 14

 

Play of the Game: Hunter throws a touchdown!

 

Player to Watch: It’s the ‘ol HJ until proven otherwise

 

Warrior to Watch: West Coast Warrior Andy Day making his first West Lot appearance!

 

Other Game to Watch: Agree with Bag here. Michigan/Wisconsin.

 

ANDY DAY

 

Game Summary:  Clearly going to be a high scoring affair… not. This game will be decided by the kickers, and luckily MSUs didn’t look so hot last week against ASU. I see a singular TD in the future for the ‘Cats, and it’s going to be a defensive one. Hopefully our bend-but-don’t-break defense can keep us in this one.
 
 
Game Score: ‘Cats 13 – MSU 9

 

Play of the Game: Pick 6 for Paddington “Bear” Fischer

 

Player to Watch: Mick McCall. Again. Always.

 

Warrior to Watch: Going to say Roger but only because it’d be weird to pick myself. He’s my co-captain for setup this week.

 

Other Game to Watch: Lot of good ones this week, but to add some flavor I’ll go with a sneaky one – Cal @ Ole Miss. Should be a close one.

 

ROGER

 

Wow! Roche and Andy taking the cats to win!

Well… I’m not, Doug. As much as I would like to pick us to win, I don’t see enough (read: any) offense here against a top flight defense. It won’t take much, but I don’t think we have much.

 

All of that said, Hunter showed us something last week with his arm and his ability to avoid a sack. He definitely throws an elite ball and has decent pocket presence. Unfortunately, that alone doesn’t make a good quarterback. He struggles with consistent accuracy, he doesn’t have a great grasp of Mick’s fantastic offense yet and his offensive line and receiving corps are suspect.

 

Game Summary: Read above. This game is going to be low scoring. The Cats defense is pretty good. Williams and Newsome took terrible angles on 2 plays and made UNLV look respectable. But, the reality is that the ‘Cats defense will anchor the team all year. They did so against Stanford. They did so against UNLV. They’ll do so in this game as well.

 

We aren’t going to shut out Sparty, though. At the very least, they’ll be able to get some points from the field position battle (though, their kicker doesn’t have a lot of confidence at the moment).

 

The wind is supposed to be strong on Saturday mid-day. The punters will be pivotal in this one. I think the best scoring opportunities will come when each team has the wind at their backs. Look for Sparty to take advantage of a few of those drives via some mild-trickery (end arounds, flea flickers, etc.).

 

The ‘Cats have killed Sparty the last several years with their use of the superback. Unfortunately, we don’t appear to have one of those anymore. So, I’m curious to see what we’ll do against a defense that doesn’t allow anything on the ground. I suspect we won’t mix it up much… hence my score:
 

 

Game Score: MSU 13 – NU 3

 

Play of the Game: Chuck makes a 38 yard field goal to get the ‘Cats on the board in the 3rd quarter.

 

Player to Watch: Offensive line – will they open the occasional hole and provide any sort of protection for Hunter?

 

Warrior to Watch: Andy. It’s his home opener. Something tells me he’s not a fan of the new parking regulations. Could he ignore the rules, head for the corner of Ashland and Isabella and claim “no brake pads, no such thing as last”?

 

Other Game to Watch: None. Our playoff contenders have no chance of losing yet again this week. Yes, I’m dismissing ND’s chances at UGA.

 

ZVON

 

Cats 27, MSU 21

 

HACK

 

Game Summary:

 

Punt, run run run Punt run run pass Punt run run punt… Safety MSU… Cats hit a field goal as time expires.

 

 
Game Score: NU 3 – MSU 2

 

Play of the Game:Gaziano sacks Lewerke for a loss of 23

 

Player to Watch: Drake Anderson – Is he a weapon?

 

Warrior to Watch: Andy Day- He’s a man on a mission to drink some Burgandy’s.

 

Other Game to Watch: ND vs Georgia – GO DAWGS

 

PAUL

 

Game Summary: Cats give up a defensive TD and a long 70 yard run, but otherwise looks solid. Sadly, our offense doesn’t come prepared and the play calling STINKS. Cats never reach the endzone and settle for 3 FGs.

 

Game Score: NU 9 – MSU 17

 

Play of the Game: 45 yard FG to end the half

 

Player to Watch: Mick McCall – how bad will the play calling get against a actual defense this week.

 

Warrior to Watch: Hack – will he make it to the tailgate before 9am??

 

Other Game to Watch: Michigan @ Wisco. Great inter-league B1G matchup here. Rooting for Sconnny.

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