Central Michigan at Michigan State - GAME PREDICTION

Central Michigan at Michigan State - GAME PREDICTION

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Central Michigan at Michigan State - GAME PREDICTION

Central Michigan comes to Spartan Stadium Saturday.  How will Michigan State follow up last Saturday’s 35-21 victory over Indiana?  The chance to get into a rhythm is in front of the Spartans and the Chippewas might be just the opponent to allow the rhythm to develop.

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The running game doesn’t work for the Spartans.

Michigan State has a mish-mash of an offensive line that can’t open up holes.

The offensive line, in addition to being a mish-mash of a unit. is an actual M*A*S*H* unit and the injuries might even keep the Spartans from being able to field an offensive line.

Dave Warner isn’t qualified to be the offensive coordinator for my son’s 6th grade flag football team.

Brian Lewerke is making far too many mistakes and his decision-making is comparable to a hungry raccoon’s decision-making process when that hungry raccoon comes upon a garbage can full of waste.

The Spartan defensive front and edge can’t generate any push or pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Michigan State’s secondary would surrender 400 yards to son’s 6th grade flag football team.

The punting situation is so bleak that many are wondering if Chris Salani has any eligibility left.

What else is wrong with the Spartans?

Oh – nobody on the team can agree on what to name this week’s trick play that features Matt Coghlin lining up at center when the first 3rd and short situation comes up.

Other than these things, the Spartans are in fine shape.

The hand-wringing, the declarative statements about the many holes this team has, the cries of “UNACCEPTABLE” from the Twitter, the demands to make changes to the staff that’s led this program to the most successful run in the history of the school – it’s all a part of what makes all of this fun.

It’s also indicative of the expectations that this team has had on its shoulders ever since the Spartans completed last season’s dramatic turnaround with its win over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl to finish 10-3.

And after the underwhelming win over Utah State, the frustrating loss at Arizona State, and the not-overly-dominant victory over Indiana, where does it all leave Michigan State?

With a 2-1 record, national rankings of 18th (Coaches) and 21st (AP) in the polls, and a home game against Central Michigan this Saturday that presents the Spartans with a chance to get to 3-1 and have all of their goals still very much in front of them.

Are there reasons for concern in certain areas?

Of course.

Nick Saban is lamenting over something that’s giving him nightmares right this very moment.

There will be demands for the dismissal of either Urban Meyer or James Franklin Sunday morning (okay, maybe that’s not a good satirical target since the dismissal of Urban Meyer depends only on whether or not he reads text messages from his wife and has nothing to do with whether he wins or loses football games).

Somewhere, someone is complaining about the job Coach O is doing and wondering when LSU is going to fire him and name him the interim head coach before hiring him again to be the new head coach.

For all of the problems the Spartans have, they’re actually in a pretty decent place.

Central Michigan is coming along at the right time for Michigan State.

We don’t often get crazy like this (despite what many would say) but there isn’t any way that Michigan State fails to get the job done this Saturday against a Central Michigan team that simply doesn’t have the horses, doesn’t have the scheme, doesn’t have the depth, and doesn’t have the overall ability to do anything close to what the 1991, 1992, or 2009 Chips did to Michigan State in Spartan Stadium.

The goal this week for Michigan State is to start to look like they are the team everyone has thought them to be since last January.

And this week, the Spartans are going to achieve that goal.

Tommy Lazzaro, the Chippewas’ 6’3″, 217 pound junior started for the first time last week and led Central Michigan to its first win of the season with a 17-5 ug-o over Maine.

Maine is a fine place and I’d like to go there some time because everyone says it’s so nice – which means it must be nice and fine – but, and this is with nothing but respect for Maine (which, of course, means that we don’t really have much or any respect for Maine – the football team, not the state), Michigan State will present Central Michigan with more challenges than Maine did.

Central lost its first three games at Kentucky (35-20), at home against Kansas (31-7), and at Northern Illinois (24-16).

Central Michigan has nothing going on offense.

And by “nothing” we sort of mean to suggest that the Central Michigan offense pretty much stinks.

We say that in the nicest way possible, of course.

The Chippewas are 128th out of 129 teams in the nation in total offense, averaging 285 total yards per game.

Central Michigan has averaged 120 yards on the ground without any individual ball carrier demonstrating any particular power (Jonathan Ward leads the Chips with 156 yards rushing on 52 carries through four games).

Lazzaro replaced previous starter at quarterback, Tony Poljan – and Poljan wasn’t removed because of a collection of performances that was unfairly dominant.

Through the air, Central Michigan is 121st in the nation at 138 yards per game.

Lazzaro will try to connect with Cameron Cole, a 6’0″, 200 pound junior wide receiver who leads the Chippewas with 127 yards receiving on 11 catches through four games.

Through four games, the Central Michigan defense is allowing an average of almost 200 yards rushing per game.

Perhaps this is the opportunity for the Michigan State offensive line and running back gang to get their engines going.

However, Central Michigan’s pass defense is currently 5th in the nation after allowing an average of only 140 yards per game.

While Central Michigan deserves respect for the way it’s defended the pass so far this season, Brian Lewerke should utilize his weapons and torch the Chips.

This is a week when Michigan State’s offensive line is going to be able to gain some confidence and find a little bit of a rhythm.

One interesting dynamic is whether or not LJ Scott plays on Saturday.

Earlier this week, we made a pitch to let LJ rest and allow the younger fellas the chance to carry the ball so that LJ can get to 100% for the most demanding stretch of the season coming up –

https://spartanswire.com/2018/09/25/michigan-state-needs-a-healthy-fiery-lj-scott/

Whether LJ plays or not, this is a week when Michigan State can and should run the football successfully.

We’re looking for 200 yards on the ground against Central Michigan – and we think we’ll see that.

Brian Lewerke might not have numbers that shine this week – but he’ll have an error-free afternoon while leading an efficient and clean attack that will lead Michigan State to a comfortable win on a picture-perfect early Autumn afternoon along the banks of the Red Cedar.

Winning the ball game will be important, of course – but “looking the part” for the first time this season will be the thing that will give Spartan fans a reason to think that all of the expectations prior to the season were legitimate and that the season is about to really kick into a higher gear.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN – 10

MICHIGAN STATE – 41

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