Thursday, 13 October 2011

UM-MSU Preview

It's unlikely that there will be any major recruiting news today, so I thought I'd write the game preview early this week. Before the season started, I predicted a loss here for Michigan, commenting:

"MSU, as much as it pains me to say it, will have a good team here lead by a senior QB who has the potential to be drafted. Plus it's in East Lansing. Hoke will have the team pumped up, but I think UM will lose this in a close one."

I've gone back and forth on this pick all week, in fact, I've already written this post with a prediction of an MSU win, that's how undecided I am. But now, I've just got the feeling that UM will win this ball game, probably in a similar fashion to the NW game, down at halftime before a dominant 2nd half. Michigan will be immensely pumped up for this game, I can only imagine how much it means to the seniors who haven't beaten the Spartans before; so look for those guys to have big games.

The key for this game, as Kirk would say, is all about the Michigan offense. Can the RBs get decent enough yardage to take some of the pressure off Denard? Can the offensive line hold it's ground against a very good DL with an NFL 1st round pick on it?

In the end I think the OL will hold strong and give Denard the time he needs to make the easy throws, which will be vital in the game. Also, I think Denard is due a 50+ yard TD run where no-one touches him, it seems like it's been a while.


On defense, Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen should have a lot of success against a suspect MSU OL. Michigan needs to stop the run game early, and try to get MSU in 3rd and 7+ type situations; i.e force Cousins to make a tough throw. Cousins is a pretty good passer, but is prone to making mistakes. Look for UM to get a couple INTs.

One thing I am worried about is B.J Cunningham vs our cornerbacks. Is it me, or does J.T Floyd have real problems locating the ball in the air on fly routes; hence the frequent pass interference calls.

Overall it should be a tight game throughout, probably MSU leading 14-7 at halftime, before a strong 2nd half UM performance makes it....

Prediction: Michigan 24; Michigan State 17


Feel free to leave your own prediction in the comments section below. Closest to the correct score will win.....hmm.....the respect and admiration of everyone who reads the blog + a free beer whenever I make the 6000km trip to Ann Arbor!

Note: you might have to wait 1-2 years for the beer.

47 comments:

  1. Benji,
    I got UM winning 30-27.

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  2. I believe the Michigan offense and defense plays a perfect game. Michigan winning 42-20

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  3. My pre-season pick was MSU 34-31. As of today, I have no idea what to expect but I don't think there will be that much scoring.

    I hope I'm wrong because the winner of tomorrow's game might well win the Legends Division.
    Thoughts:
    - Turnovers might be the difference (MSU)
    - They bring in a team that isn't what it was and we bring in an improved team (Mich)
    - High winds 25-40 mph are expected - should favour the run/short passing game (Mich)
    - could be a last possession ball game

    I've been at two of the last three losses and MSU fans are total...............They are not gracious in victory!!! I need to see them lose and I swear I'll be a good winner.


    Go Blue

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  4. I think its a complete toss up, and will come down the last possesion. So timeouts will be valuable in the end.

    You lost me a bit when you say the OL will give Denard time to make the easy throws. 2 weeks ago this MSU D-line sacked OSU 9 times in the game. I think Denard will be lucky to have maybe 2 or 3 easy throws during the game, so let's hope he capitalizes on those limited opportunitis.

    Sooner or later Hoke will be faced with a tough decision at the end of a close game where his options will be...Go for it on 4th & 6, or see what Gibbons / Wile are made of and attempt a 45 yard field goal to win the game. This might be that game...and if not, it will happen sooner or later.

    GO BLUE (UM 17-16) 3 MSU Field Goals and a TD, with Michigan kicking a 43 yarder as time expires...Pray for no wind on Saturday

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  5. Useless Stats:

    I know that I've become that guy. Here are a couple.

    After 6 games last year, we had outscored our opponents 1.39 to 1. After 6 games this year, we're at 3.06 to 1. The difference obviously is defence having allowed less than half the points (161 to 75).

    Covering the spread - Depending on whether or not you include the Western game, we have almost doubled covering the spread by 1.84-1.91 times.

    Yes I work long hours but shift works does leave time on my hands.

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  6. Msu hasnt played anybody tough except notre dame and they lost. we beat notre dame 34-31 I know it was close but we only aloud 7 points in second half. Msu defense maybe good but remember they played a horrible osu team. So in imo msu defense is overrated. Michigan wins 31-17.

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  7. I think UM defense comes to play and shuts lil brother down... UM 24-10

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  8. Jeremy-
    I agree OSU is definitely down, but to sack a Big Team's QB 9 times and essentially shut them out for 59 minutes is impressive regardless of the opponet. And I think if we played Notre Dame 10 times we'd be lucky to win 5 of them, so we played them on the right day at home.

    With that, I think Michigan's defense will beat MSU's offense, and Michigan's offense can beat MSU's defense, but that is not a gimme and will come down to turnovers and 3rd down conversions. I think MSU's d-line will beat (not dominate) Michigan's OL, but UM will overcome with its playmaking ability. MSU's special teams will outperform UM's overall, but UM's special teams will be OK.

    I would expect Vincent Smith to get more PT than usual because of his toughness & blocking ability will help protect D Rob in the passing game.

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  9. Bryan

    Ok 9 sacks on a bad osu OL and a freshman qb and in mobil bauersman. The goephers could do that. Lol . Michigan would beat notre dame more than 5 times our team is better than that. We Beat notre dame with rr. Come on this is michigan. All hail Hoke and Mattison and Borges. I dont give msu any respect. Wisky will thump msu and so will michigan. No disrespect to your opinion bryan. We are all blue on this site. Go Blue!!!!!!

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  10. Benji-
    Nice breakdown for the game. I think you hit the nail on the head with the Michigan running game. Michigan has to stay ahead of the down and distance in this game. If Michigan can do that, it will take the pressure off of DR making 3rd and 7-10 yd pick-ups with his arm. 3rd and short opens the playbook for the most explosive player in college football.
    I can also say the same thing about Michigan stopping the MSU running game. I like U of M's chances if MSU has to rely on the arm of Cousins. He will try to force a couple of throws....because that is what he does.

    Michigan 27- MSU 20

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  11. 24-21 Blue. Denard will bust a few loose and will only throw 1 pick. I think our o line d line and V Smith will really show up wanting it more than State. I also think they come out flat from a bye week and underestimate us.

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  12. I hear ya Jeremy. Hoke and this coaching staff are already showing that they are for real, and thankfully they are in it for the right reasons. Heck did Hoke even review his contract yet, or is the hand shake agreement still in effect?

    It's a great time to be a Wolverine. Not too long ago all the experts were saying this is a rebuilding year for Blue, but an 8-4 to 10-2 rebuilding year is not all bad :-). I don't want to count my chickens before before they're hatched, but what the h3ll right? By the time Shane Morris gets here our OL will be stacked and poised for the kid to step in and possibly shine as a true Freshmen.

    Go Blue !!!

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  13. @ Todd,
    Not a chance they underestimate Michigan or vice versa. This is MSU's biggest game of the year...it is their super bowl.

    Perhaps I am thinking underestimate = taking Michigan lightly, which there is simply no way that would happen.

    Maybe you mean MSU underestimates the skill/talent level of Michigan under Brady Hoke and company...to that one I can only say I certainly hope you are correct. If MSU does, Michigan will punch them in the mouth early and often.

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  14. Hell yeah!!!! Bryan. Go Blue!!!!!! Beat those bum spartina!!!! Note I guess they think they need those combat uniforms to get up for the game. I bet you will find those uniforms in the garbage when they lose. Lol

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  15. No halftime adjustments needed in this one. Michigan wins comfortably, 38-17

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  16. MSU D is over-rated. ND, and a reeling OSU are the only considerable good team they play. OSU i shouldn't have added, but let's be real, its OSU. MSU put up only 10 points, and they get mandhandled by ND. This is Big Blue all day long. . . On a sour note, I am looking forward to the Badgers putting up 100 points against Indiana. There's no such thing as running the score up. There's 60 minutes of football. This is the only team we Wolverine fans need to be worry about when Indy comes. Just read from DetNews about Banner. Good read.

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  17. I got MSU leading at halftime 17-7. Michigan blows up the second half 31-26.

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  18. also, every keeps saying "spartan seniors want to go undefeated, that's all the motivation, bla bla bla" I think OUR seniors want to graduate with 1 win against state more than they want 4-0. At least that makes more sense to me anyways.

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  19. I think ive said this earlier but ill re state what I have said all along about this game. I am really really excited to see what we do against a real front 7... and when I say real front 7, I mean it. Gholston and their Nose Tackle Worthy is a beast. They totally dismantled a SO SO OSU offense, but at times just looked down right dominate. They are super aggressive, and with that being said I think you will see the Michigan offense try and take advantage of that with screens, draws, and misdirection. They also possess BJ Cunningham who is a large strong receiver... He is by no means a Floyd, but he still poses a HUGE threat.

    Now on to the good news. I think Michigan can run on this team with the right play calling. Kirk Cousins tends to make poor redzone decisions which can help us. The other thing is the weather is looking like it could be exceedingly poor with high winds. If that is the case it hurts MSU much more then it does the wolverines. (less attention to Cunningham and their passing game). In the end I think Michigan wins this game with some outside the box play calling and defense that is prepared for their quality RB's. Michigan 31 MSU 24

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  20. @ CassBMW do you have a link to that article?

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  21. @cassbmw
    Can you tell us where the article is on the Detroit news on Banner?

    Also Michigan down 14-10 at half but comes back and pulls it off 27-20 with a two minute drill touchdown to win the game after getting a pick from Cousins

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  22. @ Bendy, I think I found it.

    http://detnews.com/article/20111013/OPINION03/110130434

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  23. I'm with everyone else. State's O is not more talented than ND's. I'm not 10o% convinced thier D is either. No doubt thier good, but good enough to stop our offense who's still putting up close to 500 ypg, pry not.

    They don't run the spread, or the option, which is good seems how our D has been solid against the prostyle set. (SDSU) I see thier O similar to states. And our whole team has improved all year. I expect that to continue.

    I'm going 34-20 blue!!

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  24. BTN just said the last 5 uofm coaches lost to msu thier 1st year. The last one to beat him was that bad ass coach in 1946!! Whoa didn't know that. Don't change my prediction, but crazy none the less.

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  25. I don't know if I feel better or like a traitor!!!

    19 Picks on here so far and I'm the only one picking a loss. So going with the odds......I like our chances. Average scores so far 29.16 to 19.4 for the good guys. I want so bad to be wrong.

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  26. Hoke is one of the few to start his Michigan career 6-0 though, so he could win.

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  27. Gobluenorth, I'm picking up what you're lying down. Expecting the worse and hoping for the best. Unless you're a msu fan on a Michigan blog site sneaking around and trying to stir the pot. Lol

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  28. Big Brother 37 Little Brother 13. I think Moo U is just as overrated as last year. Cousins throws 2 picks and fumbles once and Michigan dominates on offense, punting only once and turning it over 2 times. Leading to 10 of their points. Go blue!

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  29. Jeremy,

    I'm 48 years old.....been called Pig, a drunk, a cheat but how dare you call me a Sparty!!! The others I can live with, :) My wife is Michigan Alum.....If I ever cheered for Sparty, I'd be pouring beer on my hand to get my date drunk.

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  30. gobluenorth, I'm glad to hear you have a sense of humor. Just messing around.lol . Go Blue!!!!!!!!

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  31. 45-20 Big Bro. Have to go big in hopes that Benji buys me a brew. Lol

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  32. I have the feeling that this is another one of those games that we just can't lose. Certainly looking at stats and things like that, we could, but for me, it's like the ND game. Going into that game, I just knew we were going to find a way to win. I think the same happens Saturday, MSU leads 26-24 and Michigan scores a late TD to win 31-26.

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  33. so far this is painful to watch..... half time and so many mistakes on both sides it's crazy

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  34. We have had so many chances to score. Hopefully the second half will be ours...

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  35. Worst 4 th down play call in Michigan history...

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  36. We were exposed. I've been prowling on this site for months. I've been especially annoyed with the "bench Denard" crowd. I agree with the people that say to trust the coaches. But, doesn't today show that, save that 4thI down play call, the coaches know what they're doing? Working Gardner in is essential. I would like to see Gardner start at qb and Denard at RB. Denard could still get snaps, but Gardner SEEMS to be the better passer already. Believe me, I love Denard, even after today, but this is about what's best for Michigan and using all of our weapons is the best thing we could do.

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  37. Well Marshall, being annoyed and the agreeing with what some asked for is kinda strange?? lol I've been a critic of his but as stated he should be the starter but they need to rain in his passing game and the jump balls and chew him out severely every time he can't plant his feet properly. That is basic stuff and I have little patience for a second year starter playing street ball in the passing game. He plays the passing game like his running game (never know what's gonna happen). running he's the best around at passing, well let's leave it at lacking badly. I love watching him run but I'm not and never have been a fan of the style of offense he needs to succeed.

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  38. And not sure why I left this out of the last post seeings how it's the most important. Being dominated up front makes it pretty tough to win any play called, running or passing.

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  39. Devin throw some good plays but also some very very dumb plays... Michigan fans will never be satisfied. Devin threw a jumpball and was a horrible pass but its ok its devin, or He fumbles 3 snaps that is learned in pee wee football or running on 4 and 22? Really? Throw the ball up, there is no excuse for that! Denard in my opinion needs to scramble more! He sits back and waits to force a ball... He needs to just run! He had some bad plays too! But i like devin and he made some nice nice throws! If we had a legit running back id maybe say devin should start but our running backs are not good. So ill support the coachs and critize when i can but i do feel denard at qb is our best chance of winning this year. Maybe next year with a dunn or better rb in we could play devin but denard is not a rb and wont be able to play running back! Curious to see how game would have been without 30 mph wind! Either way the college kids tried hard and im proud of my michigan team! Either devin or denard i love both of the kids!

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  40. I think part of the running problem is teams playing for the run. We have a running qb with average at best passing ability and I say below average passing. It helps defenses stop the run when they don't respect the passing game. the 30 mph wind should have been our asset. msu has the better passer. I don't understand putting devin in that much for this game at all. with the wind it's hard to argue for better passing for anyone. I'm happy to see improvement and think next year and the year after will be big improvements. (yes we were 6-0 this year but look at the schedule) GO BLUE

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  41. Well our defense let baker run for clise to 150 yards didnt help much. We could rarely get MSU in 3rd and long... So they ran much better than us but its like someone said their line on both side won their battles

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