Free Press staff picks: Michigan will win, but Michigan State could get crushed

Our Free Press sports writers make their predictions for Saturday's Michigan State vs. Ohio State and Michigan vs. Indiana games.

Michigan vs. Indiana

3:30 p.m. in Ann Arbor on ESPN

Related: How to watch the Michigan vs. Indiana game

Mark Snyder: Michigan 24, Indiana 17
Michigan should be sufficiently motivated by last week’s loss. But more than that, playing in front of a friendly crowd should help. It may not be the best time of year to break in a new quarterback, but U-M’s offensive coaches have shown creativity to tailor to the player’s strengths. In the cold and with a potential for rain, both teams may struggle to pass effectively. U-M's offensive line and running backs will have to be more productive than at Iowa. U-M has been strong all season protecting the ball and Indiana has struggled, especially the past two weeks. This week is about surviving. Style points are not necessary.

Jeff Seidel: Michigan 45, Indiana 10
If John O’Korn starts at quarterback, as expected, it will be nothing new to him. He started 16 games over two seasons at Houston. This is a guy who once completed 30 passes (against BYU in 2014) and once threw for 364 yards (at Rutgers in 2013). That’s the long way of saying this: the Wolverines will roll once again, even if they have a new QB.

Shawn Windsor: Michigan 23, Indiana 16
Wolverines rediscover their defensive swagger to help offset the offensive uneasiness caused by Wilton Speight's shoulder injury. Back-up John O'Korn makes enough plays to set up the showdown in Columbus the following week.

Michigan State vs. Ohio State

Noon in East Lansing on ESPN

Related: How to watch MSU vs OSU

Chris Solari: Ohio State 31, MSU 17
This is essentially the Spartans’ bowl game, and their energy level will be high. However, there won’t be a second miracle victory, as Meyer’s Buckeyes overpower them with a laser-precise focus honed around MSU’s last upset.

Jeff Seidel: Ohio State 31, Michigan State 14
The Spartans will try to slow down the game, holding onto the ball as much as possible. And that will allow them to keep the score close in the first half. But MSU’s offense just hasn’t been consistent enough to beat a team like Ohio State.

Shawn Windsor: Ohio State 38, Michigan State 16
Buckeyes rolling and on a mission. This isn't about revenge as much as it's about Urban Meyer proving a point to selection committee. Spartans too young to stay competitive beyond the first half.

(2016 © Detroit Free Press)


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