Michigan Football: Michigan at Michigan State — Staff Predictions
Here is our take for the game today. What is your predictions … agree or disagree with us? Come to the message board and make your prediction.
Doc4Blu:There is much going against the Wolverines. On the road, a new interior line, a front that has had trouble against big, physical offensive lines (see Minnesota), and an uncertainty as to how Michigan can handle the Spartie defensive pressure. Michigan can win if the team plays well on both sides of the ball, one side will not be good enough more than likely. We will see how much this team has matured (or not). Michigan needs to let it hang out, avoid dumb penalties and have solid game management by the coaches.
Going into today’s game it seems like most Michigan fans are putting a huge emphasis on this game and almost a “must win” type of game for Coach Hoke, but not for me in the same regards. Well it is a must win if Michigan wants to win the division. With Nebraska losing last week to Minnesota that puts the Spartans at the top of the division. If Michigan wins today that will put Michigan there with having a tie breaker against MSU if something happens and will make the Nebraska game next week a “must win” as well.
Coach Hoke and this team needs to win this game to show they can beat a good opponent on the road. The other week we used the term Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in referencing Devin Gardner and how he has played this year at the quarterback position, but so has the team this season.
Two key stats from “Tale of the Tape” shows that Michigan is -6 while MSU is +2 in the turnover margin. That is a huge difference. The other stat is penalties where MSU (52) has had 16 more penalties than Michigan (36) and out of those had a total of 521 yards compared to Michigan’s 282. That is a 239 yard difference which is a huge number that will either hurt MSU drives or help keep Michigan drives going. If that continues today which I ASSuME it will because of how MSU plays Michigan and this is their “GAME” of the year that will be a factor in today’s game.
Most Spartan fans seem pretty confident about this game which probably merits their case especially when they look at games like Akron, UConn, and the PSU game especially after what Ohio State did to PSU which we predicted as well.
Think today, weather permitting Michigan is going to finally put a complete game together and show they can be a very good team when they do, but it isn’t going to be easy that is for sure. Michigan State’s defense is good, but not sure they are as good as advertised as well. Their competition hasn’t been that stellar with the likes of Western Michigan where they won 26-13, beating South Florida 21-6, Youngstown State 55-17, Purdue 14-0. The two games that you could compare are Notre Dame where Sparty lost 17-13 and Sparty beat Indiana 42-28.
All season long I have been saying however Devin Gardner plays is how this team will go. If he plays poorly meaning he has a lot of turnovers this game will not go good for Michigan, but if he manages the offense, does what is expected and also take what the defense gives you and plays within himself I think Michigan can pull away from Sparty today to be honest, but wish Devin will we see today?
For Brady Hoke tomorrow’s game is the most important of his coaching career to date. Sure, there will be big ones to come, but tomorrow’s trip to East Lansing will set the tone for the remainder of this season, and even next year. Here is my objective take on Saturday’s tilt. Michigan State is trending up. The Defense has been outstanding all year, and while the offense has struggled, it seems to be coming together now, at just the right time. If you watched the Spartan offense earlier in the season it made you scratch your head. QB issues, running backs seeming to lack vision, receivers dropping easy passes, etc etc. The one constant was the offensive line. They have moved people off the ball all year. Now all of the other elements are coming together for them. They don’t run a high tech offense. It’s straight forward power football. Michigan will have to be physical up front, and play tight coverage in the secondary. Take away the running game, and then make Connor Cook beat you.
Everyone seems to think The Spartan defense has not been challenged like they will be tomorrow. That might be true. On the other hand, Michigan’s offense has not seen a defensive unit like this one. From local to national media this week, the message I hear is that Devon Gardner has to be superman for Michigan to win. Really? You don’t think Michigan State plans on doing everything in it’s power to beat up, beat down, and minimize Devin’s impact? For the last three years we’ve watched what happens when you need one person to be your offense. In big games, against good opponents, you lose. I agree that Devin has to take care of the ball and make big plays, but it’s his surrounding cast that needs to step it up. The Team! The Team! The Team! Where have we heard that before? It might be asking a lot of this young offense to come of age against this incredible Sparty defense, but in reality, that is what has to happen. Weather could also be a factor tomorrow, with a 50pct chance of rain.
One element of tomorrows game that worries me hasn’t been addressed much this week, and could be critical if this game is close. Drew Dileo is a superb holder. If he can’t go tomorrow that concerns me. It also concerns me that Brendan Gibbons seems to be in a funk right now. If this game comes down to one kick….let’s pray Dileo is down on one knee, and Gibbons is mentally renewed.
Bottom line. I think tomorrows game will be physical, emotional, and gut wrenching for Wolverine fans to watch. If the offense doesn’t turn it over, and the defense doesn’t let Connor Cook beat them, we could win a close game. That’s what my heart says. My head tells me Michigan State is the more complete team right now, and they will be at home supported by a crowd that absolutely hates Michigan. It should be intense, and it pains me to say this, I think Sparty will prevail.
Can Michigan stop turning the ball over? The MSU defense has been a scoring machine and they take opportunities to score whenever they can along with helping their offense out with great field position. If Michigan can eliminate the turnovers to zero I believe they win the game, but if they have 2 or more turnovers they lose this game because of what the MSU defense can do along with what happens to the Michigan offense when they turnover the ball and go into a shell to protect Devin Gardner.
Think Michigan surprises a lot of people today and shocks Sparty on their home turf with a big win.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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