Boise State vs Michigan State: Game-Changing Players to Watch for in Epic Opener
No. 24 Boise State and No. 13 Michigan State will kick off the 2012 college-football season with a bang on Friday night in Spartan Country.
The epic matchup will be televised nationally on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET and is sure to feature a number of game-changing talents worthy of fans' attention.
Momentum is everything in college football, and these guys can swing it in their team's favor on any given play.
Let's take a look at some game-changing threats to watch for on Friday night.
With quarterback Kirk Cousins gone to the NFL, Michigan State junior running back Le'Veon Bell will become the focal point of the Spartans' offensive attack in 2012. Bell rushed for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011.
At 6'2", 240 pounds, Bell is a load to bring down and boasts rare speed and agility for a player his size. In addition to providing a game-changing presence as a runner, Bell is a dynamic receiver out of the backfield. He caught 35 passes for 267 yards last season and averages close to eight yards per reception for his career.
Look for Bell to be the guy on offense for the Spartans all night long. He'll likely create a big play or two in the later stages when the Broncos' defense begins to wear down.
Boise State senior defensive back Jamar Taylor missed five games towards the end of the season last year to injury. But he returned with a bang against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl, returning a third quarter interception 100 yards for a touchdown.
Taylor's game-changing prowess was evident on that remarkable play last season. Look for Taylor to shut down whomever he is standing across from Friday night against the Spartans. He is a reliable tackler and a threat to flip momentum whenever he drops back into coverage.
With very little proven talent at wide receiver for Michigan State, Taylor should have a field day anchoring Boise State's secondary.
Which player will make the biggest impact on Friday?
College-football fans will see and hear a lot from No. 2 against Boise State Friday night. A 6'7", 280-pound junior defensive end, William Gholston is a nearly unstoppable pass-rusher for the Spartans and will be a big reason why Michigan State's defense will dictate the flow of its game with the Broncos.
Gholston recorded five sacks as a sophomore last season and had seven solo tackles against Georgia in the Outback Bowl last January. He is a top 2013 NFL draft prospect and expected to improve even more this season, having a full year of college football under his belt.
If the Michigan State defense forces a turnover Friday, it will likely be caused by Gholston or a result of his pressure on the quarterback.
Follow Bleacher Report featured columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter all season long for more college football reaction and analysis.
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