Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/7/12

Central Michigan was able to put up 324 rushing yards last week in their 38-27 win over Southeast Missouri State. Michigan State’s defense should divide that number by 10 in tomorrow’s match-up in Mt. Pleasant at 3:30 p.m.

The Spartans gave up 112 yards (91 passing, 21 rushing) in last year’s 45-7 smack-down on the Chippewas. Central Michigan does return 8 starters from last year’s offense, including senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff who has thrown for over 3,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. Radcliff, though, was rattled last year in Spartan Stadium as he completed 11 of 29 passes for 87 yards, and two interceptions. And this Spartan defense is only getting better.

William Gholston gets pressure on Ryan Radcliff in last season’s match-up at Spartan Stadium.

Le’Veon Bell will have another terrific performance, but not like he did against Boise State. He needed to carry the ball 44 times for the Spartans to win that football game. He won’t need to do that against Central Michigan. The Chippewas gave up 188 yards on the ground (308 total yards) last week to the Redhawks, which means Bell will most likely have another 100-yard rushing game. Still, senior Larry Caper and sophomore Nick Hill will get the majority of the attempts in the second half.

I said in last week’s prediction that Hill is primed to return a kickoff for a touchdown. He had 85 kickoff return yards against Boise State and I expect him to have a big day tomorrow.

Andrew Maxwell will perform better in this game. Like he said during his press conference on Tuesday, he made good decisions against Boise State, but just executed poorly.

“We get a goal card every week,” Maxwell said. “And the first thing, there are five goals. The first thing I write every week is be a great decision maker. I thought I did a good job of making good decisions. With the interceptions, they weren’t bad decisions. In some cases they were just unfortunate, and in a case, it was inaccuracy. There were one or two plays where a decision was probably poor.”

Dion Sims will have another big day and will continue to be Maxwell’s primary target through the non-conference schedule, but sophomore Andrew Gleichert will get more action in the second half. Gleichert caught a pass for eight yards last week.

Again, we will see glimpses of Bennie Fowler, Tony Lippett, Keith Mumphery, and maybe DeAnthony Arnett, but nothing spectacular. They will execute better in this game, in terms of finishing the play after the catch. Against Boise State, Lippett had the opportunity to make some big plays, but didn’t execute.

“The plays that resulted in turnovers, (Lippett) actually ran perfect routes,” Maxwell said. “The first one we call it a glance route. Against that coverage, that is something we’ve been talking about, and he ran it perfectly. He got open, and unfortunately it bounced off his hands. The last one on the seam route, he made a great read and hit his landmark perfectly, but unfortunately ended up in a drop. I saw him Saturday after the game. I told him keep his head up, keep working, they’re all fixable mistakes. We know what kind of player he is.”

We will start to see the offense mold together in this football game, but there will still be some mistakes. The outcome will be similar to last year, but the Spartans won’t put up 45 points. This offense isn’t ready to do that yet.

MSU 31, CMU 6

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