The Wildcats play for bowl positioning and pride Saturday in East Lansing.
The Northwestern Wildcats may be out of contention for the Big Ten Legends Division championship, but they still have plenty to play for when they face Michigan State at Spartan Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. CT, with the television broadcast on ESPN2.
Northwestern fell to 7-3 last week following a 38-31 overtime loss to Michigan, a game where the Wildcats outgained the Wolverines but committed eight penalties for 75 yards. Northwestern continues to implement a two-quarterback rotation, but has relied heavily on junior Kain Colter in recent weeks. Colter, who did not factor heavily in the squad's one-point loss to Nebraska, ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa, then put together 178 yards of total offense against Michigan. Junior tailback Venric Mark ran for 104 yards against the Wolverines, his fourth consecutive 100-yard game and sixth in Northwestern's last seven games.
Michigan State, a dark-horse national championship contender as the season began, has struggled to a 5-5 record on the year and a 2-4 mark in the conference. Sparty's four conference losses have come by a total of 10 points. The much-hyped Spartan defense has played to expectations, leading the Big Ten in total defense and scoring defense. However, the Spartan offense has not gotten off the launch pad. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell is averaging just 214 passing yards per game and has completed just 10 touchdown passes. While halfback Leveon Bell has had a huge year (283 carries, 1249 yards, 10 TD), the Spartans have needed the passing game to win; they are just 1-4 in games where Maxwell throws for less than 200 yards.
Game time, TV channel: 11:00 a.m. CT, ESPN2
Point spread: Michigan State -7
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