By Senior Writer Todd Male:
If you’d have asked me before the year what Michigan’s chances were in Saturday’s game against MSU, I probably wouldn’t have given much of a bode of confidence.
While Michigan still has many holes, Coach Hoke and company have done a phenomenal job to date of covering those up with outstanding coaching. They continue to put players in place to make plays, coach the fundamentals, and inspire them to be successful.
Michigan State came in a favorite in the conference, trying to build on there once every two decade Big 10 Championship from last year ( split 3 ways mind you). Through 5 games, they have more question marks than most thought, with a piecemeal offensive line, a rushing attack that hasn’t been a shadow of expectations, and a QB who has shown much more of a tendency for mental mistakes when he doesn’t have an outstanding rushing attack to feed off of. We’ll find out a lot more about their defense, pegged by most as a top 10 caliber group on Saturday. Outside of ND, MSU hasn’t played anyone with an offense ranked in the top 70 in total offense this year. Their front 7 is outstanding on paper, and will likely be a difficult team to move the ball on.
Michigan should be able to move the ball fairly well in stretches. Al Borges has done a terrific job in adapting his offense to the talent and what the defense is giving them. Michigan State has struggled to run the ball, and I think that trend will continue. The key will be playing tight coverage, and getting pressure on a suspect at best MSU offensive line by just rushing 4. I expect MSU to try quick 3-step drops to try to get the ball to BJ Cunningham and company.
In my opinion, this game comes down to one stat, like it is in most games, turnovers. For Michigan to win, they need to limit what has become a pattern the past few weeks. Costly interceptions, caused by a variety of reasons, have slowed Michigan’s attack greatly, in spite of their ability to score big.
While many outside of Ann Arbor believe that MSU gave everyone the blueprint to stop Denard last year, injuries played a much bigger role than they did.
Denard is the X-factor, and while he’ll make his mistakes, they won’t be enough to keep Michigan’s Senior class from experiencing a win against their Little Brother. M 28, MSU 25.
follow @umgoblog and @toddboy71 on twitter