Friday, October 8, 2010

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Michigan State

It's Little Brother week and damn it I'm ready.

But before we get to the previews, the Defense has been taking a pounding this week (well really all season, but this week especially). And I just wanted to bring up a couple of points about the D.

First of all, lets take a look at the yards stats. We are:
- 102nd in total defense, giving up 433.6 yards/game
- 80th in yards per play at 5.7.
- 38th in rushing D at 125.8 (oh and btw Alabama is giving up 101.8/game).
- And thanks to Crist and the Chappellbombing, 120th in passing defense at 307.8/game.
- But we're facing the second most attempts per game in the country at 41.2.
- The yards per attempt does improve a little at 7.5 (90th).

Now, let's look at scoring. Michigan is 73rd in the nation giving up 25.4 ppg. The most of which (37) came against UMass (We are a young team, looking past an inferior opponent? Maybe?). Speaking of UMass, they are the only team that scored above their season average against us. Let's look (I removed all the tomato cans from opponents schedules too):

Team Season Avg UM Game
UConn 33.6 10
ND 24.75 24
BG 29.25 21
IU 36.5 35

ND comes closest and if Crist doesn't gone out in the two quarters, who knows. But still.

What's the point?

Well the point is that Michigan plays a bend-but-don't-break style of defense. We are, by design, going to give up a ton of yards with the idea that the opposing offense will make a mistake. Which, in all the games the D has gotten at least one interception. And in the game we didn't, we recovered a fumble. We are tied for 16th in picks with 7 (leader is Florida with 12). And if you the above and consider that none of our opponents have had their best offensive scoring games against us and we've held them to below their season average (save UMass), I'm not sure why we should be complaining as much we are. Ok, I'll give you that it's out of conference and schedules are easy, I agree.

Yes, it's not the dominating performances we are use to seeing from a Michigan defense. And, it's going to put more pressure on the offense. But if we continue to win the turn over battle and the strength of the team, the offense, continues to be the strength (remember we are #2 in total offense, #9 in scoring offense, #3 rushing and #38 in passing (because we haven't needed to)), I think the defense we have is going to be enough.

So this week, let's just accept the fact that Michigan State is likely going to get between 30 and 36 points, but that Denard and company are going to score 36 - 41 and enjoy the game.

All that said lets look at the PS Keys To The Game:

Control the line of scrimmage. If the run game keeps going, MSU's over-aggressive tendencies will give Roundtree, Stonum and crew a couple of long, easy TD's. And remember Denard learns from his oopsies, so he'll connect on those long balls he missed on last week.

Win third down. Go ahead and give up a ton of yards and make Dantonio be aggressive on fourth down. And on occasion lets trade field goals for TDs. I'm good with it.

Special Teams
Keep being a non-factor. Hangerup kicks with confidence. End of story.

Great, so what about those previews:

At MGoBlog, Brian gives us his "I'm quietly confident, but insanely nervous" win, preview prediction. Plus kitty in shoulder pads, which is nice.

Big House Blog thinks this has a UConn feel, but predicts the win.

Go Blue Michigan Wolverine has their overviews and are split on the winner.

In Rod We Trust has its take on Big and Little Brother and says the game is in the Defense's hands.

MGoBlueFootball says: It's Time!

Maize and Blue Nation has a bunch of Sparty stuff and says that a shoot out is likely and that is good.

Maize And Go Blue sees a Indiana style shoot out and predicts victory.

Maize and Brew sticks with Vegas in its Big Ten preview.

Know Your Foe is up over at The M Zone.

The Wolverine Blog got caught up in real life, but still is able to give us its coin flip prediction.

UMGoBlog has a preview and a bunch of other great Mich vs MSU stuff.

And the WLA offers proof for history that the Wolverines win.

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