Back again. Back both for the blog and for the bowls. This game is kind of a big deal. 7-6 vs. 6-7. No one wants to be below .500 at one point over on The Only Colors (before the Nebraska game had ended) that 6-5 would be no different than 7-4. Well, with that, there is a huge difference between being above .500 or below. Recruits want to play for a winning team, it looks better for future bowl games, and it puts you in a more positive light on national media spots. I dont want to listen to Herbstreet talk about how we blew it this year. I would rather hear about redemption, or salvation, or whatever winning this game would mean.
What will have happened through the bowl practices to put MSU in a position to win? The first thing is that the passing game needs to come together. With all the extra reps, hopefully any issues that were prevalent through the season (drops, miss communication) are sorted out. Along with that, the offense line should have tightened up. That will help execute in the pocket. More time to drop back = more time for the receivers to get open.
A second point will be what kind of change will Bell have made to benefit him? He tweeted that he plans to play at his lightest since his freshman year. Will this be a good a thing? It seems like he is best when he can absorb blows and get yards after contact. The TCU defense will be attacking the line to try to drop Bell in the back field. Hopefully the lightened load means more speed and more shift. My biggest complaint about Bell this year is that he would miss cuts up the field to try to get the edge. He would either get that edge or get dropped on the sideline. But those cuts he was missing looked like he could break a long one. I would have to assume that a lighter Bell can make those cuts, and accelerate through the hole.
Now what about the defense? Johnny Adams has turf toe, Lawrence Thomas is playing on the defensive line, and Gholston needs to play like his preseason hype. The defense should be well prepared for TCU as they run a similar offense to Northwestern and Nebraska. Their backup quarterback has struggled this year when he had to come in mid season. The extra practices should eliminate that. MSU got burned defensively by Nebraska but was able to limit Northwestern. What will show up for this game?
With Maxwell coming in looking to silent his critics, (especially those on message boards) he comes in and tosses 2 touchdowns and no turnovers. Bell has a solid game but the lighter load will leave him getting tackled on hits he used to turn for 3 yard gains. Call this one 24-17 MSU