Scott the key for MSU

Is LJ Scott the key for Michigan State vs. Alabama in the Cotton Bowl?

While the spotlight may be on Alabama’ Derrick Henry for tonight’s Cotton Bowl, it could be Michigan State’s LJ Scott that decides the game.

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According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Alabama is favored in tonight’s playoff semifinal, as the Tide are getting odds of -10 points against the Spartans. The over/under total for the game has been set at 46.5 points. These two meet tonight at 8PM ET on ESPN. The game is being played from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Michigan State (12-1, 5-7-1 ATS) hasn’t had a consistent run game this season, but the 6-0, 233-pound freshman has emerged late in the season for the Spartans. For 2015, Scott has rushed for 691 yards on 140 carries with 11 touchdowns. He is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and coming off a 73-yard performance against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship. Despite just having 73 yards, it was his effort after initial contact that allowed the Spartans to have a 9-minute scoring drive to get the game-winning touchdown.

Tonight, Scott and MSU meets up with another physical football team in Alabama (12-1, 7-6 ATS). The Tide lead the nation in rush defense, allowing just 74 yards per game. Oddsmakers don’t expect much from Scott tonight, as his over/under for rushing yards is listed at just 34.5 while his odds to score is set at +165. While Alabama is great against the run, MSU has established its identity on being able to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage. Scott has rushed for at least 35 yards in nine games and had double-digit carries in eight games. After his performance against Iowa, look for Scott to get plenty of carries. With his total so low, he just needs to break a run or two to hit the over. If MSU is going to win, it will have to be able to run the ball somewhat. It can’t all be on Connor Cook’s arm.

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