Alamo Bowl Preview: Michigan State vs Texas Tech The Enlightened Spartan: Alamo Bowl Preview: Michigan State vs Texas Tech

Friday, January 01, 2010

Alamo Bowl Preview: Michigan State vs Texas Tech

Michigan State (6-6/4-4) vs Texas Tech (8-4/5-3)
Sagarin: MSU #57 (SS #55), Texas Tech #31 (SS #58)
January 2, 2010. 9 pm EST.
Line: TTU favored by 7 1/2

Tickets available

Vs ranked opponents:
TTU (1-3). W - @ Nebraska. L - @ Texas, @ Houston, @ Ok St.
MSU (1-2). W - Michigan. L - Iowa, Penn St.

Predictions: Freep/Rosenberg (TTU 37-27), Freep/Shelton (TTU 35-31), DetNews, LSJ Preview, NBC Sports (TTU 34-20), CBS Sports (TTU), ESPN/Accuscore (TTU 34-26), CFN/Scout (TTU 45-38), Bleacher Report/Trahan (TTU 45-23), Bleacher Report/Sportsmeisters (TTU 42-17), everyone else: TTU

Interesting stat matchups:

TTU rush off (81 ypg) vs MSU rush def (113 ypg)
TTU pass off (381 ypg) vs MSU pass def (252 ypg)
MSU sacks (2.83 pg) vs TTU sacks allowed (2.5 pg)

MSU rush off (136 ypg) vs TTU rush def (125 ypg)
MSU pass off (271 ypg) vs TTU pass def (225 ypg)
MSU sacks allowed (1.1 pg) vs TTU sacks (3.3 pg)

If you look at the stats, one may think Michigan State has a shot by churning out its running game and sustaining long drives to keep TTU's quick-strike offense off the field (did you see the Rose Bowl yesterday, with 41+ minutes of Ohio State offense in its win over Oregon? hint hint). Um, TTU is ranked #2 in the nation at passing; MSU's pass defense is ranked #103. In five of its six losses (not including the Iowa defensive battle), MSU gave up a whopping 328 yards per game through the air. In four of its six wins, MSU gave up 145 yards per game through the air -- with the other two victories against spread teams that also had difficulty stopping the MSU pass (NW 291, Purdue 373). In other words, for Michigan State, stopping the hemorrhaging through the air, stopping a prolific passing attack is a key to victory. But, the Spartans are up crap creek against quality opponents that know how to throw. That may be just too much of a challenge to overcome.

Yes, the Mike Leach situation may give MSU an advantage; it can only help. However, playing your backup QB and WR definitely shows an issue of concern, no matter how talented Keith Nichol may be. Even the ES sees the Spartans having a difficult time keeping up in this one.

ES Prediction: TTU 42, MSU 34


And, before the Alamo Bowl, the #12 MSU men's basketball team will top off the beginning to its 2010 Big Ten campaign, with a 6:30 pm EST tip off at #25 Northwestern (Big Ten Network).

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