Kickoff: Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Spread: Michigan State by 7
Watchability: The Broncos -- the annual giant-killers -- travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State, which hasn't lost in Spartan Stadium since Nov. 21, 2009. Since 2010, the Broncos are tied with Oregon, LSU, and TCU for the most wins (24) in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Shining Stars: Michigan State: Junior RB Le'Veon Bell (948 yards, 13 TDs last year) will be the primary halfback for the first time. Bell (6-2, 240) averaged 5.2 yards per carry, the fourth-best mark in the Big Ten last season and should get a ton of carries in first-year quarterback Andrew Maxwell's starting debut. Boise State: Matt Miller and Mitch Burroughs, the Broncos' top two returning receivers, combined for 111 receptions, 1,179 yards, and 10 touchdowns last season. Of course, that was with record-setting QB Kellen Moore calling the shots. Coach Chris Petersen announced junior Joe Southwick, who sat behind Moore for two seasons, will start Friday's game. Southwick was 23 of 30 for 198 yards and a touchdown last season in seven games.
Who could steal the show: Michigan State: DE William Gholston (6-7, 275) could cause chaos against the Broncos' experienced offensive line that returns three starters. Gholston was second on Michigan State with 16 tackles for loss last year. If the Broncos double-team Gholston, that would free up DE Marcus Rush, who was third on the team with 12 tackles for loss in 2011. Boise State: The Broncos will rely on sixth-year RB D.J. Harper now that Moore and leading running back Doug Martin are each in the NFL. Harper ran for 557 yards on 115 attempts and scored nine touchdowns last year. Martin was the primary back, but Harper ran for a season-high 125 yards and two touchdowns last year vs. TCU.
You going? Ranking the road trip: There are only two games this weekend that feature two ranked teams, No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama and this game. East Lansing will serve as an electric atmosphere for Friday night's primetime game, as Spartan Nation hopes to kick off yet another 11-win season.
Magic number for Michigan State: 25.8. The difference between how many points Boise State averaged last season (44.2) and Michigan State's vaunted defense allowed (18.4) last year. The Broncos' offense was fifth in the country, while Michigan State's defense was 10th.
Magic number for Boise State: 1.000. Boise State's winning percentage in its last three season-opening games, all against ranked teams. Last season, the Broncos defeated No. 19 Georgia 35-21 in the Georgia Dome. In 2010, Boise State beat No. 10 Virginia Tech 33-30, and in 2009, it beat No. 16 Oregon 19-8.
The game comes down to: Whether Boise State can move the ball against Michigan State's defense. The Broncos lost a ton of offensive firepower and will face the best defense the Big Ten. Even if Maxwell struggles for the Spartans, they can rely on Bell and K Dan Conroy, an All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore and an honorable mention last season. Michigan State's defense is above-average at every tier and CB Johnny Adams could stifle Boise State's passing attack while linebackers Chris Norman and Max Bullough could stuff the run game.
Prediction: Michigan State 24, Boise State 13
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