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Week 7 - Iowa at Michigan State
Posted Oct 12, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - Iowa at Michigan State

Iowa (3-2) at Michigan State (4-2) Oct. 13, 12:00, ESPN

Here’s The Deal: If it’s possible to be 4-2, deep in the Big Ten title chase, eighth in the nation in total defense and a disappointment, that’s Michigan State. The Spartans haven’t been able to find its passing game and has been way, way too sluggish against vastly inferior teams. After getting shut down by Notre Dame, it took a half to get past Eastern Michigan. After the major disappointment against Ohio State, it was a struggle to beat Indiana last week 31-27. If this tremendously talented team is finally going to start playing up to its potential, it has to start here with the key stretch coming up at Michigan, on the road against Wisconsin, and at home against Nebraska.

Iowa picked the perfect time to come up with its best performance of the season, blasting Minnesota 31-13 two weeks ago. Finally, the team came together at the same time and showed it could put together a complete performance, but now comes a stretch of three road games in the next four and with four in the next six. It has been an inconsistent season with too many problems and pitfalls, but at 1-0 in the mediocre Big Ten, all of a sudden, everything could start to turn with a win over the Spartans.

Why Iowa Might Win: Michigan State has been way, way too sleepy. The running game was shut down by Ohio State and Notre Dame, and the passing game has been plagued by too many dropped passes and too many misfires. The only complete performance this year came against the same Central Michigan team that stunned Iowa, but that’s been about it for the highlights – and that includes the win over an average Boise State squad. The inefficient and ineffective passing game isn’t good enough to take advantage of a decent Hawkeye secondary that’s not getting any help from the pass rush. On the other side, Michigan State isn’t generating any pressure whatsoever, and Iowa isn’t allowing many hits on the quarterback giving up just six sacks so far.

Why Michigan State Might Win: Enough is enough. The Iowa running game might have found something in Mark Weisman, but the Michigan State defensive line doesn’t allow any production from the running backs – Ohio State quarter back Braxton Miller is a different story. Yes, the MSU passing game might be struggling, but so is the Iowa air show that might put up decent yards, but isn’t coming up with any big plays. The Hawkeyes have thrown just two touchdown passes all season long, and while the Spartans might be struggling a bit in the secondary – star corner Johnny Adams has been a major disappointment – they shouldn’t have too many issues with the middling Hawkeye receivers.

What To Watch Out For: Le’Veon Bell has been everything for the Spartan offense. So far, MSU hasn’t lost when its bruising star has scored, but it has taken major efforts time and again to get the big numbers running 44 times against Boise State, 36 times against Eastern Michigan and 37 times against Indiana. All the work has taken its toll with his ankle a problem. He’ll meet early and often with Iowa’s Anthony Hitchens, the Big Ten’s leading tackler. The junior linebacker made 19 stops against Iowa State and hit the double-digit mark in each game since, making 12 stops last week.

What Will Happen: Michigan State is 4-0 when allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing and 0-2 when giving up more than the century mark. Iowa won’t get enough of a push to hit 100, while Bell will fight through his problems to come up with a good day carrying the attack. The Spartans won’t be pretty, but they’ll be just good enough defensively to hang on.

CFN Prediction: Michigan State 17 … Iowa 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Michigan State -10 O/U: 40
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 3