at Michigan State 45 … Central Michigan 7
Posted Sep 24, 2011

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Central Michigan at Michigan State

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - CMU at Michigan State

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Sept. 24 at Michigan State 45 … Central Michigan 7
CFN Analysis: Now that's the Michigan State that was supposed to come out roaring against Notre Dame. Of course, Central Michigan isn't Notre Dame, but this Spartan team was confident, physical, and punishing, with the ground game working again after not doing anything last week, and with the defense dialed in and not allowing a thing. The Spartans only came up with one sack, but they swarmed all over everything the Chippewas wanted to do and never let it be a ball game. Now, can MSU bring the same fire and the same punch it shows this week and against Florida Atlantic to Ohio State in the Big Ten opener? If the defense is as dialed in against the run as it was this week, MSU has a chance to win and win without a problem.
The CMU offense can't be this bad, even against a defense as good as Michigan State's. Last year was supposed to be about rebuilding, and this year was when things were supposed to start working. Instead, the offense went absolutely nowhere. The four turnovers were bad, the inability to push the ball down the field was worse, and the lines were terrible. Considering MSU didn't come up with a great pass rush, 21 rushing yards is inexcusable. Finally, the Chips are back home next week, but they haven't shown anything to suggest they can stay with a team as good as Northern Illinois.

(AP) EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Le'Veon Bell ran for 81 yards and three touchdowns -- all in the first half -- to lead Michigan State to a 45-7 victory over in-state rival Central Michigan on Saturday.

The Spartans (3-1) bounced back from last weekend's loss at Notre Dame, taking advantage of four Central Michigan turnovers. Isaiah Lewis returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, helping Michigan State race to a 31-0 halftime lead.

The Chippewas (1-3) finally scored in the third quarter after a blocked punt when Ryan Radcliff threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to David Blackburn.

Central Michigan (1-2) at Michigan State (2-1) Sept. 24, 12:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal … Just when it seemed like Michigan State was looking like it was something special, and seeming to be every bit as good as it was last year, it came up with a dud against a desperate Notre Dame team that needed to come up with a good win. Now the Spartans have to try to get their form back before kicking off Big Ten play next week with a fascinating stretch starting out at Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and at Nebraska.

In 2009, Michigan State had Central Michigan dead in a seemingly easy non-conference game, and then Dan LeFevour led a shocking comeback in the final moments for a 29-27 Chippewa victory on the way to a tremendous 12-2 season highlighted by a MAC title. Things have been rocky since then with second-yard head man Dan Enos struggling through a 3-9 first season and with two straight blowout losses to Kentucky and Western Michigan over the last two weeks. Next week starts out the MAC season against Northern Illinois at home, and any production against MSU would be a plus. CMU's offense isn't moving the ball through the air with any efficiency and the ground game isn't working. A wounded Michigan State team isn't going to show much mercy.

Why Central Michigan Might Win: Stunningly, the Michigan State running game hasn't been working. Last year, MSU wasn't dominant on the ground, but it was effective averaging over 150 yards per game helped by a hot start. The running game pounded away for 200 yards or more in five of the first six games before hitting a wall over the second half of the year, and to start this season the offensive line didn't do enough against bad Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic defensive fronts. And then there was the Notre Dame performance.

The Irish was all over the MSU ground game allowing 29 yards on 25 carries doing a great job of getting into the backfield. The Chippewas have been great so far at making a push with 22 tackles for loss and five sacks, but they failed to get to Alex Carder in last week's loss to Western Michigan. The run defense has been solid and the pass defense has allowed just 182 yards per game.

Why Michigan State Might Win: The Chippewa offense can't put points on the board and isn't moving the chains without a fight. To only come up with 256 yards of total offense against South Carolina State is a problem, and not cracking the 100-yard mark on the ground in two of the first three games is a concern. Michigan State might not have been great against Notre Dame's ground attack last week, but the defense has been swarming and stifling at times over the first three weeks and has one of the strongest defensive lines in America. CMU isn't going to run for 100 yards.

If Michigan State's passing game is working at all, this is over. Central Michigan doesn't have the offense or the home run hitting ability to mount any sort of a comeback against the nation's third-ranked secondary that kept Notre Dame's Tommy Reed under wraps allowing just 161 yards, while keeping star receiver Michael Floyd to 84 yards on six catches. CMU won't have much more success.

What To Watch Out For: Michigan State has a new star wide receiver. B.J. Cunningham showed flashes last year with nine touchdowns grabs on 50 catches for 611 yards, and now he's more of a deep threat and more of an unstoppable force as Kirk Cousins' No. 1 target. The 6-2, 223-pounder is big, isn't afraid to get physical, and has the wheels to get deep when needed catching 26 passes for 361 yards and a score in the first three games, battling for 12 grabs for 158 yards last week against the Irish.

CMU is hoping to get some Cunningham-like production out of its top receiver, Cody Wilson, who has been strong on punt returns early on but has yet to break out for the offense catching just 14 passes for 170 yards and a score. The 5-10, 186-pound junior followed up a 25-catch freshman season with 83 grabs for 1,137 yards and five touchdowns, but he's not getting the ball in his hands enough so far this season.

What Will Happen: Michigan State might not dominant, but it won't have a problem putting away a punchless CMU team that doesn't have enough weapons to keep up if it gets down by any significant deficit. Cousins will be fantastic.

CFN Prediction: Michigan State 38 … Central Michigan 14
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Michigan State -22   O/U: 49.5

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