Each week, the WNUR staff will submit their predictions for Saturday’s football game. Over the rest of the quarter, we’ll keep track of each picker’s record.
Matt McHugh (@mattmcsports27): Northwestern 20, Michigan State 13
The Wildcats defense looked excellent last week, and I expect that performance to carry over into this week against an average-at-best MSU offense. If the offense can do just enough, the ‘Cats should be able to knock off a ranked team for the first time this year.
Player to watch: Nate Hall, LB, Northwestern: Hall has had an excellent first half of the season, and he’ll be a key factor for the Wildcats as they try to stop L.J. Scott out of MSU’s backfield.
Will Greer (@WillCGreer95): Northwestern 13, Michigan State 6
Northwestern grinds out a rainy, cold, low-scoring, euphemised-as-good-ole-Big Ten-football, brutal late-October game against one of the most overrated top-20 teams in the history of college football.
Player to watch: Charlie Kuhbander, K, Northwestern: Kickers win and lose boring football games.
Amit Mallik (@amitkmallik): Northwestern 31, Michigan State 20.
The ‘Cats grind out a tough conference victory behind a dominant run game and a defense up to the task.
Player to watch: Bennett Skowronek, WR, Northwestern: Northwestern’s offense will need to put points in the board against a talented defense. The Wildcats’ receiving corps didn’t find a ton of separation against an overly physical Iowa secondary. Can Skowronek, who started the season well, make enough big plays on Saturday?
Ari Levin: Northwestern 20, Michigan State 17
Northwestern pulls off the upset win behind a resurgent offense, a strong defense, a clutch game-winning field goal by Charlie Kuhbander. Thorson and co. will put up just enough points against Michigan State’s defense, and the Cats will hold strong against a struggling Spartan offense.
Player to watch: Justin Jackson, Northwestern RB
Austin Klewan: Northwestern 24, Michigan State 20
Northwestern has been a tough out all season, even against Wisconsin (Led at Halftime) and Penn State (neutralized Saquon Barkley through nearly 3 quarters). Michigan State’s passing game has been dormant on the road and is one of the weaker 6-1 teams, so Northwestern pulls their seemingly annual upset this Saturday.
Player to watch: LJ Scott, RB, MSU: Michigan State relies on the running game on the road, and Scott has not disappointed with a 7.8 YPC thus far. Northwestern’s defense has been generous with the running game this year, giving Scott a reasonable opportunity to make an impact.
Darren Zaslau (@darren_zaslau): Northwestern 27, Michigan State 24
Northwestern is finding success on both sides on the ball, and after last week’s overtime victory over Iowa, I’m picking the ‘Cats in an upset this week. Look for Justin Jackson to once again be the focal point of the offense.
Player to watch: Charlie Kuhbander, K, Northwestern. In what I think will be a very close game, special teams could be the difference in this one. That will turn all eyes to Kuhbander, who was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after making three field goals in the win over Maryland two weeks ago. Entering play, Kuhbander has made 7 of 8 field goals. He is tied for the second-best field goal percentage in the Big Ten at 87.5% and has made all 22 of his PATs.
Austin Miller (@austin_james906): Michigan State: 20 Northwestern: 14
I’ve unfortunately seen this story before. Northwestern goes on a little run only to break all of our hearts with a heartbreaking loss. I unfortunately think that’s going to happen again this week.
Player to Watch: Justin Jackson, RB Northwestern: Jackson was, simply put, brilliant, against Iowa last weekend. If he can do that again this week, the ‘Cats could be looking at an upset win.