#11 Michigan State Spartans-#16 Nebraska Cornhuskers: Brutally Honest Game Preview

msu dance team

Maybe I was wrong to doubt Michigan State Spartans QB Kirk Cousins? Back in the summer, I believed the Spartans would be the 4th best team in the Big Ten. I was dazzled by the sexy new college football newcomer to the conference, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their vaunted blackshirt defense.

I was wrong. I did pick State to win at Michigan, but I did not see last week’s upset coming. And Cousins maybe even knows that I was wrong too. You see, he reads your criticism and uses it to fuel the team to reach greater heights.

Maybe I still have time to come correct.

#11 Michigan State Spartans (6-1, 3-0) Analysis:

“I’ll always feel overlooked, I’m always looking for motivation. I just told my brother the other day: I said Kyle, go on the internet and look up every article you can. Go find every preseason magazine you can, and compile a list, of all the quotes, articles, anything that disrespects us, or doesn’t give us our due,” Cousins told the media at conference media day in August.

I’m sorry I put you as #3 in preseason QB power rankings. And State to finish where I did. Today, they’re Rose Bowl favorites. “P4RB” was their preseason slogan. “Prepare for Rose Bowl.” With Cousins at the helm, it may happen. Because as this video attests, he’s not just good at football, but good at life.

But enough about him, State has other players too. Edwin Baker the touchdown maker at tailback, Keshawn Martin is a decent #2 receiver. B.J. Cunningham is now the school’s all-time leading receiver. Pretty impressive when you consider all the wideouts who played college ball in East Lansing: Andre Rison, Courtney Hawkins, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammad, Charles Rogers (ok, he sucked in the pros, but still) Plaxico Burress (okay, he shot himself but still) Gari Scott.

On defense, there’s the Big Ten’s top NFL draft talent, Jerel Worthy with that bad ass anti-Wolverines tattoo; and safety Trenton Robinson.

#16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1):

Taylor Martinez is one of the better single threat QBs in the conference. He’s a dynamic single threat like Denard Robinson; both can run all day. Martinez isn’t as bad a thrower as Robinson, he just has the ugliest delivery ever! It’s like watching Shawn Marion in the NBA shoot free throws.

I was as high as anyone on the Huskers defense in the preseason. But the blackshirts were a huge let-down, and now anyone who’s high on them is just plain high.

They struggle mightily against the run, the Cornhuskers are 10th in the Big Ten in rush defense, surrendering an average of 167.8 yards and 4.5 per carry.

A season ending injury to senior defensive tackle Jared Crick was a crushing blow. The program found out a couple weeks ago that Crick has a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the remainder of his final season. I still think he will succeed just fine at the next level.

Linebacker Lavonte David made the midseason cut for the Butkus Award; for what it’s worth.

Coach Bo Pelini is well known for his anger and temper; I have a feeling this game will give him more inspiration to go off the deep end; again.

Prediction to be taken with an entire truckload of salt, not a grain of salt: MSU 34, NU 31 (2010-11 prediction record 33-14)

Yes, MSU gave us the play and game of last weekend. It was the national lead story and ESPN lead contest as Gameday came to East Lansing.

Keith Nichol (the former QB that Cousins beat out) caught a desperation 44-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins on the game’s final play to give the Spartans a 37-31 home win over previously undefeated Wisconsin. Nichol, who snagged the ball off a deflection at the 1-yard line and then fought to the goal line, was initially ruled down short of the end zone, but the replay official overturned the call to give the Spartans the win.

Before last year, I would say Sparty is ripe for a loss this week. That’s what they used to do, in October it was always ‘same ol’ Spartans,” follow up a big win with a crushing defeat. Start out strong, fail in late fall.

Not after 2010. Cousins is kind of like Tim Tebow, and not just because both are super-Jesusy. Both make you believe they’ll win, and they just get the job done.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio shows all across the world. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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