Iowa Game Prediction

While 7-3 though ten games is not what Michigan envisioned when the season started, how they got there has been equally as disappointing. They showed marginal improvement last week against an injury riddled Northwestern team, however this week in Iowa City will be a much stiffer challenge.

With the shot of playing for a B1G championship gone, a chance at 8 or 9 regular season wins is still on the table.

Iowa’s defense won’t be confused with‎ MSU’s anytime soon, but their front is stout and with Michigan’s struggles along the interior of the offensive line, expecting to rush for near 4 yards a carry two weeks in a row is unlikely.

‎Devin Gardner, from the outside looking in, had a somewhat efficient game last week. But if Northwestern’s defense didn’t have lobster claws for arms they would have picked him off 5-6 times. I get that he’s running for his life nearly every play, but at some point throwing the ball out of bounds needs to cross his mind if his first or second target are covered.

Michigan will try to pound the ball, if for no other reason of Gardner’s preservation. Expect Iowa to use the blueprint of the previous three games and load the box and largely be successful. Michigan will make enough plays to stay in the game.

However both of Iowa’s lines will prove too much for Michigan to overcome, and Iowa will make just enough plays to win.

Iowa 23  Michigan 17

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Michigan State Preview

What to watch on offense

Mark Dantonio is in his 7th year at Michigan State has finally brought something to Sparty that they haven’t had in a long time, consistency. After years of mediocre and losing seasons the Spartans have reached a bowl game in each of Dantonio’s 6 seasons. The Spartans added co-offensive coordinators but have maintained the same power running attack that Dantonio’s teams have been known for throughout the years.

After 2 seasons the Spartans are still searching for a QB to replace Kirk Cousins who posted a 28-12 record as a starter. Longtime heir apparent Andrew Maxwell gave way to Connor Cook shortly after the season started and has posted better than average numbers. The Spartan passing game is still a weak spot despite the presence of WRs Bennie Fowler, Aaron Burbridge, and Macgarrett Kings Jr.

After losing La’Veon Bell to the draft Sparty has turned to junior Jeremy Langford to carry the load at RB. Langford, who like many of the backs on the Spartan roster, didn’t see a ton of carries behind Bell has blossomed into playmaker at RB. At 6’0 206lbs, Langford is tough to tackle and has a great mix of speed and power.

The Spartan’s offensive line was decimated by injuries a year ago and while they lose their best linemen, they return the services of seniors Travis Jackson and Fou Fonoti. Returning 4 players with starting experience, though this is one of the smallest offensive lines the Spartans have had under Dantonio weight wise.

Best Offensive Player

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Michigan State Game Prediction

The long wait is finally over, the bye week is done, the anticipation has built, and Michigan prepares to travel to East Lansing for another 60 minutes of unnecessary roughness. The toughest, hardest hitting, slugfest of the year. With Paul Bunyan finally home after earning his associates degree at MSU the previous four years, and a situation where Michigan can’t lose and expect to earn a berth in Indianapolis, all is riding on this one. Jeremy Gallon - UMGoBlue.com

Predicting Michigan football is as about as easy as a couch escaping an East Lansing party without third degree burns. With youth, comes inconsistency.  10 guys do a great job on a play and one misses an assignment and the play fails.

The key to this game outside of the turnover battle is Michigan establishing the run with players other than Devin Gardner. Whether it’s the jet sweep with Dennis Norfleet, or between the tackles with Fitz Toussaint and Derrick Green, Michigan must establish some form of a running game.

MSU likes to load the box and leave their corners on islands. Lining Devin Funchess up outside or in the slot, and making him go up and get passes can make them drop their safeties back to prevent that ND further open an inconsistent run game.

Michigan’s defense is better than it has portrayed the past two games, and has a chance to assert itself against an equally puzzling offense. Slowing the run game, which will reduce the Spartan’s play action passing is another key.

In the end, I don’t see MSU scoring more than 20 points offensively, unless they’re set up with short fields by their defense. Can Michigan move the ball effectively and take their shots when given? Michigan will score just enough, and take care of the ball equally as well as MSU, and squeak out a win,

Michigan 21 MSU 20

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Brady Hoke – Michigan State – Press Conference Notes

Brady Hoke:

On MSU: “They are a good football team. I think they’ve come a long way from earlier in the season … Their whole offense has really taken off and you can see it … Their defense is as good as any and that’s going to be a real challenge for us. Playing up in East Lansing is always a little bit of a challenge … We are excited, it’s going to be a fun week.”

On physicality: “We’ve been inconsistent in that department … I think there were 27 of them who were in East Lansing two years ago, they understand that it is physical … and it starts with the physicality that Michigan State will play with.”

Importance of this game: “It is an important football game when you look at where we want to be and where they want to be at the end of November.”

What needs to improve: “Our special teams need to get better. I don’t think we’ve punted the ball as well as we need to … Big plays, defensively, we can’t give up those big plays and we can’t have lapses … From an offensive standpoint you always want to be able to have a running game”.”

On building an identity: “There is no doubt that I think every part of this game, from offense to the defense and every fabric of whatever it is, you are going to find something out about your team.”

On Devin Gardner: “You can’t give the ball away, and I think they lead the conference in turnover margin, but we’ve got to do a great job of taking care of the football, a great job of decision-making.”

On MSU’s offense: “I think their offensive line is better, I think they are playing better together as a group. I think Langford is a very patient back … I think the quarterback situation is settled now and there’s not a question of who’s going to play and who’s not going to play.”

On MSU: “We don’t like them, either. This isn’t an admiration society. It’s a great rivalry. You’ve got two teams that are about 45 miles apart and that’s what it is.”

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