3. Get a good game from J.J. McCarthy
Michigan State’s defense isn’t terrible. The Spartans are eighth in the Big Ten in interceptions, sacks, and rushing yards allowed.
Yet, that doesn’t seem like a defense that will wreak havoc on J.J. McCarthy. This is the third road game in four weeks. I also expect it to be the loudest.
McCarthy is leading college football in QBR. He’s also got 17 total touchdowns. It’s hard to see Michigan State winning this game unless they are able to sack McCarthy and force him into some turnovers sort of like the Bowling Green game.
Forcing McCarthy to throw the ball 30-40 times might be preferable for Michigan State because that would at least mean the Spartans have had the lead or are stopping Michigan’s running game.
One thing to note is that Michigan State ranks third in all of college football in third-down defense. Winning on the early downs will be important for Michigan, but if McCarthy plays like he did in every game this season but Bowling Green, the Wolverines will win.