Friday, October 30, 2020

Preview: Michigan State

Time: Noon
Location: Big House 
TV: Fox 
Weather: Sunny 40 
Line: MSU +24.5

It's not rare to play to play this game in late October but it is rare to play Sparty in the 2nd game of the year.   MSU will make its second trip in a row to Ann Arbor (to make up for the bankrupt former Toys "r" us CEO mistake) but the first new for MSU's new head coach Mel Tucker who was hired late in the cycle when Mark Dantonio left the Houston Rockets as his small ball strategy clearly was clearly not working in the playoffs.  

Mark hated Michigan and had a nice run over the Wolverines as Michigan's best football program was trying to find its way after Lloyd Carr retired.   MSU is in a similar situation with a new coach, little to no roster, COVID, and issues all over campus.  It will take Mel years to rebuild as they try to band-aide through transfers.  The first look was not a good one as they gave up 7 turnovers in a loss to lowly Rutgers last weekend at home.  When Mel feels sad about his team, he looks at his bank statement and smiles.  

Why MSU?

Well, it is Halloween and Sparty has pulled out a few tricks and treats in the Big House in the past.  They were not ready to play last weekend and looked like Big Ten's worst team.   They did show flashes as Rocky Lombardi (who has a famous football name) threw for over 300 yards and they have a speedster in Reed who is a transfer from Western Michigan at WR.  

This is Sparty's Super Bowl/Bowl Game and there is always improvement between week 1 and week 2.   I don't expect Michigan to over look its instate rival but the Wolverines have been known to play down to lower competition.   

Key Match-Up:  MSU's O-Line stopping Don Brown's pressure cooker.  


The Wolverines looked like a different team on offense last Saturday night and Joe Milton made every Michigan fan forget about the McCaffrey's.   It was a great mix of Speed in Space and Jimmy's hard nose power football.   They used full backs, tight ends, and ran between the tackles.    They also hit fast guys on the outside and ran Joe for first downs and touchdowns.   It's what we had hoped to see for a couple of years.   The Gophers defense looked like they were confused all night.   

Ohio State hasn't been stopped on 3rd down and 4 for 10 years as their athletic QB could always pick up a 1st down running the ball if nobody is open.   Michigan finally figured that out and recruited a guy that can do the same.  

Michigan's defense was dominate at times and head scratching all in the same game.   They struggled to stop the run and did a decent job in the secondary.  Dax didn't play in the 2nd half and the secondary took a step back.   Michigan's defense is all about pressure and if they can get it from 4 guys, it gives Michigan an extra person in coverage, if they send more guys, Michigan can get gashed if the QB gets it out fast.  

Key Match-Up:  Michigan fighting ghosts on Halloween 

Are you going to predict anything?

Michigan should find comfort in playing in the Big House and there is plenty of things to smooth over from last week.   Sparty on the other hand, won't turn over the ball 7 times this weekend and will try to take a huge jump in "playing football" from last week.  

My gut tells me this Michigan team loves playing football and will find anytime they take the field a blessing this season.   They won't over look Sparty and will probably be up for another trophy game in a rivalry situation.   I don't believe Sparty has the talent to be able to do advanced things that will confuse the Michigan coaches.  If Michigan plays clean and tightens up some of the loose areas from last week, this will be over at half.    If Michigan is getting kicks blocked and turning the ball over it will keep Sparty in the game.   For example, Rutgers turned the ball over 3 times themselves last week.  

I like that Dax and Nordin are expected back and that Michigan plays the way they did last Saturday night in the daylight.   Ghost only come out at night.  

Michigan 48 MSU 12 

1 comment:

Rudy said...

Good call and score prediction. Sparty is a trash bag of a program and human capital. BUT....I disagree about the program being down for "years" unless you mean a couple of years. It's still a big time program so they'll get their players, especially with the transfer portal being so generous. Remember, they have no standards either so they'll accept the kids kicked out of other programs for academics or rape....a prerequisite at Sparty U.