Friday, October 19, 2012

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Michigan State

This is what Michigan Football looked like the last time they beat Sparty

Michigan State Spartans (4-3, 1-2 B1G) @ Michigan Wolverines (4-2, 2-0 B1G)
Saturday 10/20, 3:30 ET, Michigan Stadium, Big Ten Network

Last week went down just about as I predicted. And if you remember I wasn't shy about saying a shutout wasn't out of the question. I even gain a bit of fame on MGoBlog as THE KNOWLEDGE'S Protege of the Week! But that was then. This is now!

That photo above is from 2007. That's the last time Michigan defeated Sparty. Four years of crushing defeats. Will this year be different? It damn well better be!

Offense
You all remember the trash tornado last year, right? And we remember how Borges thought it was a good idea to throw 31 times? And we remember how that turned out? Did you realize that the two time Denard made 30 plus attempts were the only times Michigan lost last year (38 atts at Iowa)? Do you know how many times he's attempted 30 passes this season? Zero. Don't expect a repeat of that performance.

State can stop they run, they are 8th in rush defense. Outside of Ohio State the best rush offense they've seen is Notre Dame at 47th. I think that Michigan can have success here. Since the second half of the Notre Dame game, the offensive line has been physically dominating. Look for more of that this week. Fitz is in a funk and I think this game has the kind of emotion attached to it that will help him break out of it. I know I've been saying this is the week for a couple weeks now, but I think the coaching staff will challenge him and he'll respond. College players are funny that way.

Defense
The Spartan offense is some kind of crappy this year. They rank somewhere in the neighborhood of Notre Dame and Purdue in total offense and Illinois in scoring offense. Michigan held all three of those three teams to season lows. The D is playing at a high level right now. I expect State to try and get Bell going early and often to try and mitigate having to put this in Maxwell's hands. Even then I don't see them having much success. The D-line continues it's great play and Jake Ryan and the linebackers look fast and efficient.

Special Teams
Dennis returned punts last week. I liked that a lot. Is this the week he returns to Norfleet status? Hagerup has a big game this week. Field goals don't factor in to this one and Wile kicks all his kicks through the back of the end zone.

The Prediction
This version of Michigan State doesn't strike fear in my heart. I've tried to watch them a few times this year and it's just been painful. Yes, the defense is pretty good, but it's not as stout as it has been. And their offense is just atrocious.

On the other hand, you have Michigan who is playing its best right now. I'd go as far to say they're the best two-loss team in the country (suck it CyClown and BCS ranking). It's Denard's last State game and he's going to really want to win this one. And I think the team really responds to that.

Michigan State struggles offensively. Bell is kept under 100 yards. Denard has his best game of the series. The defense's turnover party continues another week. Michigan wins 28 - 6.


Michigan Blogdom

MGoBlog is harping about jumping the snap count. (I know I too was shocked)

The Big House Blog says no Denard turnovers will be the key to victory.

BWS believes Michigan's defense reins supreme with Fitz having his best day.

Holdin The Rope mentions John L. Smith.

Maize and Blue Nation says special teams is due and wishes away Bad Denard.

Maize N Brew does a little Q&A with The Only Colors.

Maize and Go Blue has record watch and thinks the secondary will get tested.

The M Zone does it's thing and calls the Paul Bunyan Trophy a piece of crap.

Touch The Banner says Michigan plays with emotion.

And the WLA gives us a cat that looks like Mark Dantonio.

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