The year was 1989. That was the last time the Michigan State Spartans won at Nile-Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes have an impressive home streak going against the Spartans and they’ll put it on the line Saturday when the two collide heads for a 3:30 ET ABC kickoff. Michigan State comes into the game ranked #5 nationally and with an unblemished 8-0 record while Iowa, a pre-season pick to win the Big 10 (along with Ohio State) come in at 5-2. It might be a bit of a disappointment for Hawkeye fans but nothing can mask what has been happening the past two weeks. The Hawkeyes have given up 59 points in their last two games. The two games before that? Only three surrendered. So, what is to come then of this Hawkeye team? They are moving the ball well but into town comes a Spartan force that is undeniable on both sides of the ball. Consider: Michigan State is 28th in rush offense. Michigan State is 28th in rush defense. They are consistent on both sides of the ball and that is what makes them so difficult to play against.
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It’s a potential banner year for Michigan State. They are 8-0 and come into the game brimming with confidence after an impressive, 21-point fourth quarter effort last week in their win over Northwestern. The home side Wildcats were leading 24-14 going into the 4th quarter but the Spartans found high gear and ran away with it. Now, they come in to play an Iowa team that may have lost some of their toughness and proper mindset. The Hawkeyes haven’t been themselves the past two weeks and could be reeling after a heart-breaking 31-30 loss at home to Wisconsin. The visiting Badgers scored with about a minute to go to deliver the crushing knockout. Will Michigan State still be riding high after last weekend’s come-from-behind victory at Northwestern? Or will their first stern road test (not counting their Michigan win) be too much to overcome? Time will tell.
It’s certainly no time to panic but Hawkeye fans might wonder how this could be. A pair of ESPN experts picked Iowa to win the Big Ten and represent the conference in the BCS National Championship game. A crushing defeat in their third game at Arizona and last weekend’s late loss to Big 10 foes Wisconsin has fans wondering how it could come to this. But, all is not lost. In fact, Iowa still has a Big 10 championship to play for but they must win this game. Can it happen? Sure. Michigan State isn’t one of the five best college football teams in the country but they have been a byproduct of good fortune, good luck and smart, steady play. Iowa has been all over the place but you can bet Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz will have his guys—especially his defense— ready to play on Saturday.
Michigan State vs. Iowa Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Michigan State +6.5
@ Iowa -6.5
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Michigan State vs. Iowa Predictions for Week 9:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) –Michigan State has confidence—no question. They have belief in their system, their coaches and what they are doing on a football field. If they can win this game, they might start to really believe that anything is possible in this potential dream season. Can Iowa stop them? If the Iowa defense shows up that is capable, then absolutely. If that Iowa defense shows up, MSU is a rightful underdog. But, Iowa’s defense hasn’t shown up in the past two weeks and Michigan State seems to be the top team here. With them getting 6.5 points, it’s an easy decision for some.
Game Total Prediction – Iowa has a good defense. It shouldn’t sound as if they don’t. But, they simply haven’t brought their “A game” to the football field lately. Will Michigan State torch them for 40 points? Certainly not. But, the Spartans and Hawkeyes should see their linebackers in on just about every tackle. Both teams have good running games and with the clock likely to be ticking regularly, we’ll go with the under.
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