staff, August 31, 2012

In a great non-conference matchup of ranked opponents, Michigan State hosts Boise State on Friday night. Let's take a look at some quick notes. This year at our editors are rolling out something a little different when it comes to game coverage where we create a new post for each quarter of every football game. For this Minnesota game, those posts will live in the Michigan State vs. Boise State section and that page will be updated after each quarter.

Here our Tom Dienhart previews Friday night?s game.

FRIDAY: Boise State at Michigan State (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Why you should watch: This is the Spartans chance to send the nation a message on national television that it is a nationally elite program that is capable of beating the best and contending for not just Big Ten title honors-but also a spot in the BCS title game. In fact, many feel this is Michigan State?s best team since the 1987 edition that was the program?s last to play in the Rose Bowl.

Keep an eye on: QB Andre Maxwell. This will be the fourth-year junior?s first career start. And he will be working with an overhauled receiving corps vs. a Boise State defense that has nine new starters. How does Maxwell handle pressure and respond under duress? You have to figure the Broncos will come after him.

Key matchup: Michigan State front seven vs. Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick. This is a ferocious Spartan defense led by end William Gholston and linebacker Denicos Allen. Look for MSU to turn up the heat on Southwick, who was Kellen Moore?s backup the past two seasons.

Key number: Four, starting defensive line departed off of Boise State?s defensive line. Expect the Spartans to try to pound that front with its veteran offensive line and bullish running back Le?Veon Bell. Oh, and Boise?s top three linebackers also are gone.

Key note: Talk about shoes to fill–departed Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins left campus as the school?s all-time winningest quarterback. Moore left Boise State as the all-time winningest quarterback in NCAA annals. senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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