Michigan State-Northwestern Preview Capsule
No. 13 Michigan State (9-1, 6-0 Big Ten) at Northwestern (4-6, 0-6), 12 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Michigan State by 7.
Series record: Michigan State leads, 36-17.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Michigan State is one win from its second Big Ten championship game in three seasons and two from the best conference record in school history. The Spartans are eyeing their first trip to the Rose Bowl in 26 years. They can clinch the division title if they win one of their next two games or if Minnesota loses. Northwestern is trying to keep its flickering bowl hopes alive and end a six-game slide, which matches its longest streak since 2006.
Northwestern offensive line vs. Michigan State defensive line. Michigan State leads the nation in total defense (228.4 yards per game) and is tops against the run (57.3 yards), which could make for a rough day for the Wildcats’ offensive line.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michigan State: RB Jeremy Langford comes in with five straight 100-yard games and is closing in on 1,000 for the season with 926. He’s averaging 4.7 yards per carry and leads the Big Ten with 13 rushing touchdowns.
Northwestern: QBs Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian were both less-than-dominant against Michigan last week, and the Wildcats will probably need more. Colter passed for 26 yards and ran for 78 last week, while Siemian threw for 153.
FACTS & FIGURES
Michigan State’s only loss was at Notre Dame on Sept. 21, which is also the last time Northwestern won. The Wildcats beat Maine that day to go to 4-0, only to blow a 10-point lead in a 10-point loss to Ohio State two weeks later to start this tailspin. … The Spartans are closing in out their third 11-win season in four years, the only times that has happened in the program’s 117-year history. … The Spartans are allowing just 13.2 points per game — fourth in the nation. … Northwestern has played in bowl games five straight years.