College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Northwestern vs. Michigan State 11/28/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Northwestern visits Michigan State on 11/28/2020 at 3:30PM.

Northwestern and Michigan State face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. Northwestern has a record of 5-0 this season. Michigan State is 1-3 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Northwestern Team Defense Preview

Northwestern has had 62 total defensive drives this season and they yield 5.27 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Passing plays make up 65.14% of their opponents’ play calls.They are a team that faces a lot of Air Raid Offenses.

Northwestern opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 2.55 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. This is a team that is getting gashed too much for the tastes of their base. Linebackers are not stopping the bleeding well enough. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

Northwestern has made the turnover belt, chain, pads, lunch pail or whatever gimmick they use change hands a lot. This is a Defense that causes pure aggravation. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Northwestern has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Northwestern Team Offense Preview

Northwestern has had 61 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 5.61 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Struggles to get ahead of the chains and convert on third and fourth down are common, the offense can stagnate. Passing plays make up 44.74% of their play calls.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Northwestern struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Northwestern can take credit for 2.09 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Northwestern Offense. Front sevens are causing an average amount of trouble for the Offense. Northwestern is a better passing team than running team this season.

Michigan State Team Defense Preview

Michigan State has had 47 total defensive drives this season and they yield 5.38 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Passing plays make up 54.94% of their opponents’ play calls.Michigan State tends to face teams that prefer to air it out or opponents want to air it out against them.

Michigan State opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Michigan State can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 2.22 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. When it comes to getting to that second level, running backs are getting stopped. This defense does not allow themselves to be gashed. Opponents have shown a relatively average level of explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play against them.

This is not a disruptive Defense and they get pushed over way too easily. Perhaps they are too vanilla with playcalling. This front seven is simply unable to make an impact, something must change or else the problems will repeat. Michigan State is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Michigan State Team Offense Preview

Michigan State has had 48 total drives this season and they generate 4.71 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Michigan State is not a team that runs many plays per drive. The offense is either prone to faltering and struggles to notch first downs or extremely explosive, we will need to find out a bit more to get answers. Struggles to get ahead of the chains and convert on third and fourth down are common, the offense can stagnate. Michigan State passes the football 53.98% of the time.Michigan State tends to pass more than other teams.

Michigan State struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Michigan State can take credit for 1.82 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have been able to impose their will on the Michigan State Offense this season. Front sevens of opposing defenses are causing a lot of problems. Michigan State is a better passing team than running team this season.

The Northwestern Roster

The Players to Watch for Northwestern

Peyton Ramsey QB 6-2 220

This season, Peyton Ramsey has put up 926 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has thrown 4 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 124.0thus far this season. Peyton Ramsey has thrown 4 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Peyton Ramsey has 128.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 83.28 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 41.0 times this season, which puts him in the 80.66 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 1.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Drake Anderson RB 5-11 190

This season, Drake Anderson has 211 rushing yards on 51 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 2 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Drake Anderson picked up 25 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 3 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman WR 6-2 203

This season, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman picked up 293 yards. He caught the ball 23 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 4 receiving touchdowns this season.

Jake Saunders DT 6-2 300

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northwestern, Jake Saunders has 9 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 75.12 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 34.51 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Adetomiwa Adebawore DL 6-2 265

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northwestern, Adetomiwa Adebawore has 11 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 68.37 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 83.9 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Brandon Joseph DB 6-1 192.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Northwestern, Brandon Joseph had 28 tackles which puts him in the 82.53 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 75.36 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Brandon Joseph as a ball hawker was able to pick off 5 passes last season, which puts him in the 100.0 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

The Michigan State Roster

The Players to Watch for Michigan State

Rocky Lombardi QB 6-4 225

This season, Rocky Lombardi has put up 890 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has thrown 7 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 124.8thus far this season. Rocky Lombardi has thrown 7 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Rocky Lombardi has -17.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 11.15 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 19.0 times this season, which puts him in the 60.16 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Jordon Simmons RB 5-11 195

This season, Jordon Simmons has 147 rushing yards on 42 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 0 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Jordon Simmons picked up 34 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 5 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Jalen Nailor WR 6-0 185

This season, Jalen Nailor picked up 280 yards. He caught the ball 13 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Naquan Jones DT 6-4 340

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Michigan State, Naquan Jones has 10 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 75.12 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 34.51 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Jacub Panasiuk DE 6-4 250

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Michigan State, Jacub Panasiuk has 23 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 68.37 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 70.17 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Xavier Henderson S 6-1 210.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Michigan State, Xavier Henderson had 23 tackles which puts him in the 74.06 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 75.36 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Xavier Henderson as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 39.16 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Shakur Brown CB 5-11 190

Considered the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Michigan State, Shakur Brown had 16 tackles which puts him in the 72.48 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 35.17 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Shakur Brown as a ball hawker was able to pick off 3 passes last season, which puts him in the 98.32 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Northwestern vs. Michigan State Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Northwestern 19 Michigan State 11

Spread Pick: Michigan State +13.5 -107 Pinnacle Sports
Moneyline Pick: Northwestern -500 Bookmaker
Total Pick: Under 41.5 -112 Pinnacle Sports