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Katherine Wright | | December 23, 2019

Wake Forest vs. Michigan State: Pinstripe Bowl prediction, time, TV channel, preview

These are the must-watch bowl games (outside of CFP) in December

The 10th annual Pinstripe Bowl features Michigan State (6-6, 4-5 Big Ten) and Wake Forest (8-4, 4-4 ACC) and is set to kick off at 3:20 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams.

For the Spartans, this is their 29th bowl appearance in school history after a season that included a top-25 AP Poll ranking and eventual five-game skid to four top-15 teams. 

BOWL NEWS: Top 25 scores, schedule for bowl games

A loud beginning of the 2019 season benefitted Wake Forest too. A 5-0 record, which coincided with their first AP top-25 ranking since 2008, to start the season helped steer the Demon Deacons to a program-record fourth consecutive bowl appearance.

Wake Forest vs. Michigan State football: Time, TV channel

When: Friday, Dec. 27 at 3:20 p.m. ET | Follow live stats | Full FBS scoreboard

Where: Yankee Stadium | Bronx, NY

How to watch: ESPN

How to listen: ESPN Radio

TV SCHEDULE: Complete college football bowl schedule, TV listings

Wake Forest vs. Michigan State football: Preview, prediction

Wake Forest ranks behind Clemson in several ACC categories, including points per game (32.8) and yards per game (473.4). Led by quarterback Jamie Newman, the Demon Deacons stood just ahead of the Tigers in passing yards per game with 297.8, first overall in the ACC. To make his performance even more impressive, Newman was competing against Clemson Trevor Lawrence, 2019's seventh-place Heisman finisher.

Sage Surratt was a key feature of the Wake Forest offense. He led the conference with 111.2 receiving yards per game until enduring a season-ending injury against Virginia Tech, the ninth game of the season. The Demon Deacons would lose two of the final three games of the regular season. To say losing Surratt was a devastating blow might be an understatement.

MORE: National Championship history

Michigan State has been tested by multiple high-powered teams this season, and those losses will likely benefit the Spartans in Friday's game. And so will its stronghold on defense. 

After winning the 2018 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Kenny Willekes recorded 69 tackles and led the team with 9.0 sacks. The senior defensive end earned another spot on the All-Big Ten first team. Altogether, the Spartans ranked 18th in the country in total defense, allowing 319.2 yards per game.

KEEPING SCORE: Tracking each conference through bowl season

The Michigan State offense relied heavily on quarterback Brian Lewerke. The senior led the Big Ten with 234 completions, many being accented by receiver Cody White, who secured 58 catches for a team-best 825 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Elijah Collins added variety as a redshirt freshman, rushing for 892 yards and five touchdowns and earning All-Big Ten third team honors. 

Michigan state Stat/Leader wake forest
6-6 (4-5 Big Ten) Record (Conference) 8-4 (4-4 ACC)
22 Points per game 32.8
22.67 Points allowed per game 29.2
361.5 Yards per game 473.4
238.5 Passing YPG 297.8
123 Rushing YPG 175.7
319.2 Yards allowed per game 409.8
2527 Passing yards allowed 2966
1303 Rushing yards allowed 1951
Brian Lewerke
2759 (16 TDs, 12 INTs)
Passing yards leader Jamie Newman
2,693 (23 TDs, 10 INTs)
Elijah Collins
892, 5 TDs
Rushing yards leader Cade Carney
556, 5 TDs
Cody White
825, 5 TDs
Receiving yards leader Kendall Hinton
1001, 11 TDs
Antijuan Simmons
81 total tackles, 15.0 tfl, 3.5 sacks
Defensive leader Ryan Smenda Jr.
72 total tackles, 6.0 tfl, 2.5 sacks

Expect a competitive effort by both teams, but Wake Forest's offense should be the deciding factor. Its, at times, explosive offense uplifted many defensive woes this season, and it would be fitting if the Demon Deacons finished 2019 off the way they started. There again, Michigan State's defense could silence any hopes Wake Forest has of punctuating what has been an exciting season.

The loss of Surratt gives Michigan State a better chance of halting Wake Forest's air game, but I foresee a clutch performance by Newman to lead the Demon Deacons to their fourth-straight bowl win.

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