Michigan vs. Michigan State Preview


Michigan State vs. Michigan

Jack Kozicz

On Nov. 2 the biggest rivalry game in the state of Michigan will commence. Michigan against Michigan State; offense against defense; Wolverines against Spartans. Both teams come in at 6-1, Michigan’s only loss was against Penn State in quadruple overtime and State’s only loss came against Notre Dame 17-13. State is first in the Legends division of the Big Ten with a 3-0 conference record and Michigan is third with a 2-1 conference record.

Michigan has been winning games with their offense. The Wolverines are 11th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 42.4 points per game. Devin Gardner has been leading the high-scoring wolverine offense. Gardner has thrown for 1779 yards, rushed for 520 yards, and has scored 22 total touchdowns. Gardner started off the season poorly, throwing seven interceptions in the first four games. The Wolverines’ quarterback has shown improvement though, coming off a record setting performance against Indiana, five total TD’s and no turnovers.

Michigan State has been winning games with their defense. State shuts teams down on defense, allowing an average of 13.6 points against which is fourth in the nation. The Spartans defense has been centered around Max Bullough. The middle linebacker has 42 tackles, one sack, and six tackles for a loss. The Spartans also rely heavily on Darqueze Dennard. The senior cornerback has 31 tackles, two for loss, and two interceptions.

This is an interesting game between the two schools, because the Big Ten is usually known for lots of defense and a hard nosed run game. Michigan has historically been the school that has made the Big Ten known for defense. Now, however, it’s State’s turn to show the country that the Big Ten is still a relevant football conference, and is capable of playing defense every game of the season.

The game will be played in East Lansing. State has not lost to Michigan at home since 2007. I think the decisive factor in this game will be Gardner’s decision making. If Gardner can play like he played last week against Indiana or against Notre Dame in week two, then Michigan should be able to hold onto the Paul Bunyan trophy for a second year in a row. If Bullough can force Gardner to throw the ball away quickly then Dennard and the spartan secondary should have no trouble adding to Gardner’s embarrassing interception total, 10 so far.

I think that this game will be relatively low scoring, with State’s defense limiting Michigan’s offense and State’s offense limiting itself, but I believe that Gardner will build off of a great performance against Indiana. Gardner should limit the turnovers in this game, find Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess downfeild, receive help from Fitzgerald Toussaint, and win the game in East Lansing. Predicted score: 23-17 Michigan