ES Game Day Preview: MSU 23, Iowa 20 The Enlightened Spartan: ES Game Day Preview: MSU 23, Iowa 20

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ES Game Day Preview: MSU 23, Iowa 20

Iowa (7-0/4-0, #5 Sagarin, sked strength #20) at Michigan State (4-3/3-1, #44 Sagarin, sked strength #32)
Saturday, October 24, 2009. 7 pm EST.
TV: Big Ten Network
Weather: 44 degrees, 30% chance of rain
Latest Line: Pick 'em; some have Iowa - 1; some have MSU -1 1/2.

Tickets available

Injuries: Michigan State - S Roderick Jenrette (foot), out; RB Glenn Winston (knee), out; S Trenton Robinson (ankle), questionable; DE Trevor Anderson (ankle), probable; QB Keith Nichol (elbow), probable. Iowa - WR Marvin McNutt (thumb) probable; RB Brandon Wegher (leg), probable; RB Jeff Brinson (foot), out;

More Predictions & Previews: USA Today (MSU 23-21); In the Bleachers (Iowa 17-13); AC Sports (MSU 17-13); CBS Sports video preview (Iowa); Eastern Iowa News (Iowa 23-21); Cappers Picks; Sporting News

ES Prediction: Michigan State's trenches will really be tested this week. Iowa's running game lacks explosiveness and will go up against a rigid Spartan run defense; they had just 65 yards at Wisconsin last week, are averaging just 120 per game and 8 rushing TDs all year. The advantage here goes to Michigan State; they should be able to force Iowa and their efficient QB Ricky Stanzi to throw the ball, something they've excelled at all year. Their TE, Tony Moeaki, is awesome and the Spartans need to watch him closely. To what extent will MSU force Iowa into a one-dimensional team and tee-off with pressure on Stanzi? If so, can MSU defensive backs stop the big play as they have the past three weeks? Will Stanzi make the Spartans' blitzing ways pay? Or can Jerel Worthy, Trevor Anderson, and Greg Jones rattle the Iowa QB into mistakes?

Iowa's defense is hard nosed but Spartan RBs have good talent - with the late addition of Ed Baker to Larry Caper, Michigan State should be able to mix in the run enough in the game to help move drives. Spartan youth needs to hold onto the ball vs an Iowa team that has caused 7 fumbles. The key is whether or not Kirk Cousins/Keith Nichol can minimize mistakes and get the ball in the end zone -- Michigan State's passing game has plenty of receivers and a healthy stable of TEs at its disposal. Iowa's pass defense is excellent, giving up just 167 yards per game through the air and causing 15 INTs (Tyler Sash 5 INTs; Brett Greenwood 3 INTs). Iowa is an opportunistic bunch. Who will have the greater advantage? This is a toss up, and a fascinating matchup.

Neither team has break-away kick or punt returners. Both punters are pretty good. The Hawkeye's PK, Daniel Murray, is 5-8 from 40 yards and beyond and 11-15 overall; advantage to Spartans' Brett Swenson here, who is as good as any in the nation.

This aims to be a tight matchup, as just about everyone is predicting. Under the lights, cold, and likely wet. Iowa has never won eight games in a row in one season. Michigan State is still aiming to keep its Big Ten title hopes alive, and its defense has awoke.

I like Spartan LBs, Greg Jones and Eric Gordon to make the big play in this late in the game, in overtime. Hell, if Michigan scored 28 points on the Hawks in Iowa City, why can't MSU? OK, maybe the Big Green won't... but they'll score more than Iowa. Besides, is that a Hawkeye, or a piece of Fried Chicken? What an ugly bird - Iowa deserves to lose just for having an stupid mascot. Final Score: MSU 23, Iowa 20.


  1. shocking, another Spartan win predicted by ES

  2. "Besides, is that a Hawkeye, or a piece of Fried Chicken?"

    Been reading you guys all week as the Hawks prepare for a tough game in East Lansing, and I've been pretty impressed. And you get bonus points for calling Michigan SCUM on your schedule. But the statement quoted above . . . I don't get it.

  3. Anonymous10:27 PM

    No nichols no victories why he does not play him I dont know danatino lose another one playing the wrong QB!