Last season Northern Colorado played Kansas as their money game, the outcome saw the Bears fall 49-3, and started what would become a 3-8 season. Head coach Scott Downing is hopeful his change at offensive coordinator to Greg Peterson is the cure to his troubles. Downing has worked at Nebraska, Purdue, and Wyoming during his career. So far this season the change looks to be a good one as the Bears have gone 2-1 and posted some big offensive numbers.
Michigan State Rush Offense vs. Northern Colorado Rush Defense
The Spartans are coming off another big offensive rushing night against Notre Dame. Look for Larry Caper to get his first heavy action and Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker to continue to provide a left-right combo that has been hard to stop. The Bears are only giving up an average of 114 yards per game but have not played a team as physical with three quality running backs like the Spartans. EDGE: MSU
Northern Colorado Rush Offense vs. Michigan State Rush Defense
The Bears have shown to be a balanced offensive attack having rushed for 605 yards while also passing for 610 yards. Running back Andre Harris along with Jhamele Robinson have 105 of the teams 155 rushing attempts and have combined for 469 of the teams 605 total rushing yards. Quarterback Dylan Orms has carried 34 times for 79 yards and is good enough to keep plays alive with his feet. The Spartans have been hard on teams looking to run the ball as they have only given up 222 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Look for much of the same against the Bears. EDGE: MSU
Michigan State Pass Offense vs. Northern Colorado Pass Defense
The Spartans have seen solid but not great play from quarterback Kirk Cousins. However, in a Mark Dantonio attack the quarterback is a manager of the game and not so much the star. The Spartans have shown solid play overall as Cousins has hit for over 63% of his passes and Keshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham, and Mark Dell have all made big catches. Dell left last week's game and has yet to score a touchdown this season. Look for the Spartans to have several chances to go deep as the Bears have given up four touchdowns by air this season and only posted five sacks so far. EDGE: MSU
Northern Colorado Pass Offense vs. Michigan State Pass Defense
Bears quarterback Dylan Orms has been solid hitting on just over 56% of his passes for 572 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, the more impressive stat is he's only thrown one pick. The Spartans may have their best chance to help both their sack totals and interception totals if they can rattle Orms. EDGE: MSU
The Bears have given up a score in both punt and kick returns this season and kicker Mason Puckett has only made 4 out of 8 field goal attempts and has made 10-of-11 in extra points. The Spartans have been solid in this area and should have no problems on Saturday unless they do not put forth the effort. EDGE: MSU
Home game, playing for Coach D, and wanting to show they can play after a big game are all reasons for the Spartans to have the intangibles to have a big game. As we've seen many times, BCS programs at times take teams like Northern Colorado lightly and play poorly. While a sluggish start would not be a surprise, look for the Spartans to kick it into gear. EDGE: MSU
Look for Michigan State to have a good offensive game and hope to get some experience in the depth of the team. While we will not call for a blowout, look for the Spartans to hit at least over 30 points while holding the Bears to 10 or less. Prediction: MSU 38 – Northern Colorado 10.