Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Michigan State vs Michigan The Rivalry Continues

This weekend when Michigan State and Michigan kick off, a lot more will be at stake than bragging rights. MSU is looking for something to rebound its season. U of M is looking to legitimize its season after winning four games, all at home, with a weaker schedule. Both teams look forward to this game (don't let U of M tell you this game doesn't matter to them, because it does) and although its too early on the calendar for me (the weather wont let you believe that) this should be as big of a game as we have seen in a while.

What MSU needs to do to win: Play defense. Make tackles. MAKE PLAYS! That is probably what the game will come down to. U of M has a poor defense too, and I have confidence that MSU won't shuttle in Nichol at inappropriate moments after last weeks fiasco. Nichol can be used as a change of pace and a spark for the offense. Glenn Winston and Larry Capers needs to churn out yardage and open up the passing game for Kirk Cousins. The defense needs to make tackles, cover people, rush the passer better, basically everything. A spread is exactly what the defense doesn't need. Forcier is hurt (separated shoulder? may not play) and Denard Robinson could shred MSU. Special teams is obviously not going to be a problem for the Spartans.

MSU Can lose if: They turn the ball over, putting an already bad defense in bad situations. If they don't tackle or over pursue the spread they could get killed. They need to be patient on offense and put up a ton of points. Use the cold weather to get another edge at home, don't let it hurt you.

What Michigan needs to do to win: Rack up as many points and yards on the Spartans as you can. There defense is not going to stop you much and you should not lose because you didn't score enough points. On defense, load up on the run and make Cousins or Nichol beat you. The passing game has its own problems, like dropping passes or giving up sacks. You have to use Mesko to your advantage and get good field position to put them in bad situations. Its the first road game for a lot of your players (QB most importantly) and the cold weather could hurt the spread attack. Run the ball and take safe passes until your settled.

Michigan can lose if: They let the road environment get to them having them make mistakes and penalties. If Forcier doesn't play, play to Robinson's strength by throwing less. Him throwing will hurt them, period. The defense needs to make big plays, not be perfect.

I see this game as a shootout with the weather playing a factor. If this game was at Michigan and Forcier was totally healthy, I might go with the Wolverines. But since it is at MSU, and MSU has played a tougher schedule, the Spartans will pull this out. It will be a close, great game so get ready.

MSU 37 Michigan 31

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