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Washington State vs. Michigan State, Holiday Bowl

28 December 2017

Zach Manning: It feels like forever since the Spartans put the pads on and squared off against another team, but the Holiday Bowl should be an exciting game to watch. The Spartans suffered a blowout loss to Ohio State and then defeated Maryland and Rutgers to close out their 2017 campaign on a high note. The Michigan State Spartans have had their hiccups here and there this season, but the defense has been very consistent and the ground game has improved with Scott leading the way. This was already a banger of a turnaround season after Sparty went 3-9 a year ago, but 10 wins would be a flawless topper for 2017. Washington State doesn't see these type of big, physical teams often in the Big Ten, and the Spartans are too well coached to get beat by a team that has no running game.

With Michigan State once again having their stout defense, you have to wonder, will they be able to keep WSU's high-flying offense down, or will the Cougars just fly all over the Spartans down in San Diego? Don't believe me? Just look at the sack numbers allowed. The Washington State Cougars ground game is averaging 71.6 yards per contest, and Jamal Morrow leads the way with 522 yards and four touchdowns.

The line for this game has actually moved to favor the Spartans after they opened as a 4.5-point underdog.

Luke Falk was one of this season's most productive passers, as his 374.8 passing yards per game and 30 touchdowns on the season helped the Cougars attain nine wins and finish as the 18th best team in the country.

Michigan State and Minnesota may be two separate teams, but they both play similar on offense. Only Duffy Daugherty has more with 109 wins (but in 19 seasons).

Falk is one of the most intriguing quarterback prospects in this year's draft, and could be a very good target for a team looking for some value in the second or third round.

So what side do you need to be all over in the Holiday Bowl? Defensively, Washington State is allowing 24.4 points and 313.6 yards per game. Michigan State has struggled to score points all season long while Washington State has done quite the opposite.

Washington State vs. Michigan State, Holiday Bowl