Northwestern (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) and Michigan State's (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) respective seasons couldn't have started any differently, but both sides sit at 2-3 in must-win situations here in Week Seven. Northwestern is coming off of their best win of their season in Iowa and a bye, while the Spartans have dropped three straight (two of those three being home losses).
Needless to say, each side faces a number of glaring issues coming into this one. Northwestern's secondary remains inexperienced and inconsistent. Michigan State has had struggles stopping the run in recent weeks. Injuries along both the offensive and defensive lines (Xavier Washington and Connor Mahoney) will further weaken units of question for the Wildcats. The Spartans don't have a clear-cut starting quarterback. But despite their flaws, both teams have legitimate bowl aspirations, and a win today would go a long way to bolster either side's resume.
Michigan State has taken six of their last eight matchups with Northwestern, but the last time the two teams played in East Lansing in 2012, it was the visiting Wildcats who pulled out a tightly-contested 23-20 victory. Northwestern will look to repeat this bit of history at Spartan Stadium today.
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