24 Hour News 8 Sports Director Jack Doles is in Indianapolis for the game. Follow him on Twitter for updates @jackdoles for updates and tune in to 24 Hour News 8 at 10 and 11 for the latest on the game. The game airs at 8:17 p.m. on FOX.
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WHAT’S AT STAKE:
It’s essentially a play-in game. With the Hawkeyes and Spartans ranked No. 4 and No. 5 by the College Football Playoff committee, the winner will almost certainly become part of the four-team field. The consolation prize might not be too bad, though: A possible trip to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl.
Iowa CB Desmond King vs. Michigan State WR Aaron Burbridge. No, they may not be matched up for the entire game, but when they go toe-to-toe it could be most entertaining. Burbridge was chosen the Big Ten’s best receiver and will be catching passes from Connor Cook, who was chosen the league’s top quarterback. King, meanwhile, was the Big Ten’s best defensive back after picking off an FBS-leading eight passes and tying Iowa’s single-season school record.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Michigan State: Cook. After throwing 24 TD passes and only four interceptions this season, the highly-touted NFL prospect became the first Spartans quarterback to earn first-team all-conference honors since 1965. He’d rather keep Michigan State in line to play for its first national championship since 1966 by winning his second Big Ten title in three years.
Iowa: QB C.J. Beathard. The junior doesn’t have all the gaudy numbers. But he doesn’t make many mistakes, either, and that could be the key against Michigan State’s opportunistic defense. If Beathard finds some holes in the Spartans secondary, the Hawkeyes could put together another stunning chapter in this shocking season.
FACTS & FIGURES:
Iowa is making its first Big Ten championship game appearance. … Michigan State is 1-1 in title games, winning the 2013 crown by upsetting then-undefeated Ohio State. … Beathard is 13-0 as starter and is the first player in school history to win his first 13 starts. ..Cook needs one more TD pass to tie Kirk Cousins’ single-season record for TD passes. … The Spartans are 6-1 in last seven vs. Top 10 teams and have won eight of their last 10 against ranked opponents. … Three Iowa players (Jordan Canzeri, Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels) have each rushed for 195 yards in a game this season, making Iowa the first FBS team to achieve that feat since LSU in 1997. … Michigan State’s senior class has won 42 games and can break a tie to become winningest class in school history Saturday. … Iowa finished the regular season undefeated for first time since 1922 and only the fifth time in school history. … The Spartans and Hawkeyes each finished with turnover margins of plus-1.17 per game, tied for the Big Ten lead and fourth in the nation.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org