Michigan State travels to take on Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant

No. 11 Spartans heavily favored in rare meeting on Chippewas' home turf

Author: Dave Bartkowiak Jr. , Online News Editor, @DaveBartko, dbartkowiak@wdiv.com
Published On: Sep 08 2012 11:27:44 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 08 2012 11:34:15 AM EDT
DETROIT -

No. 11 Michigan State is set to make a rare visit to Mount Pleasant where the Central Michigan Chippewas eagerly await.

The schools have never gone head-to-head at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. This meeting has been called the biggest in history at CMU's home field.

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

About Michigan State

Le'Veon Bell thundered down the field last week against No. 24 Boise State racking up 210 yards on 44 carries. Bell earned both Michigan Sate touchdowns in their 17-13 win over the Broncos.

Quarterback Andrew Maxwell will need to have more control over the ball if the Spartans want to improve their passing game and showcase a more balanced attack. Maxwell threw three interceptions against Boise State and no touchdowns.

The Spartan defense was nothing shy of impressive last week as they held Boise State to just a field goal and no 2nd-half points. Boise couldn't get more than 37 rushing yards on the Michigan State defense and failed to do much through the air.

About Central Michigan

The Chippewas beat Southeastern Missouri State last week with a balanced offense which showcased some great options for senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff. Radcliff was 14-23 for 171 passing yards and one touchdown. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton rushed for 180 yards on just 17 carries, averaging more than 10 yards per carry.

The Chippewas' defense allowed 24 1st-half points before shutting down SMSU in the 2nd half and holding them to just three points.

Central went on to win 38-27 after taking control of the game in the 2nd half.

Saturday's matchup

If Central Michigan wants to beat MSU for the first time since 2009, they will need to find a way to get past the Spartan defense. The Chippewas showed they have experienced talent on offense, something Boise State did not have.

CMU will have to keep their mistakes at a minimum while capitalizing on MSU's. Bell could be a real problem for the CMU defense, but keeping Maxwell's passing game at a minimum could be key.

Michigan State will probably bring the house on Radcliff early, hoping to keep the senior QB out of a rhythm. Shutting down the Chippewas offense with size and muscle could be the game breaker for MSU.

On offense, it's Michigan State's running game that shows the most threat. However, going to the air may be the difference between a runaway victory for MSU or a close nail-biter in Mount Pleasant.