Michigan State Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Northwestern

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Michigan State Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Northwestern
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Andrew Maxwell and the Spartans will qualify for a bowl game with a win over Northwestern.

The Michigan State football team will attempt to get itself back on track this Saturday when it hosts Northwestern in East Lansing.

The Spartans (5-5, 2-4), winners of four straight over the Wildcats (7-3, 3-3), must defeat one of their final two opponents in order to become bowl eligible for a sixth-straight season.

Coming off of back-to-back 11-win seasons, fighting for bowl eligibility in mid-November isn't what Mark Dantonio had in mind for 2012. Sitting in last place of the Big Ten Legends Division is a significant blow to a program that was beginning to establish itself among the conference's elite.  

Nonetheless, the Spartans can still finish with a respectable 8-5 record should they win from here on out. But they must start by fending off a fiery Northwestern squad in State's final game of the year at Spartan Stadium. 

Here are five keys to the game for Michigan State against the Wildcats this weekend.

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