Week 9 Preview: #2 Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans
Rivalry week is here in the state of Michigan and the Spartans will be hosting the Wolverines on Saturday. Michigan is coming in as the number two ranked team, moving up from the three spots after the Ohio State Buckeyes were upset against Penn State last week. This rivalry seems to be going into the Wolverines direction. Michigan is winning the rivalry 35-26-2 in the history between the two teams. Michigan State has dominated seven out of the last eight games in the rivalry. Michigan is looking to turn that around.
Michigan State is on a five game losing streak and are on track to be the worst team under Mark Dantonio. They started with a win over Furman, but didn’t look like the same Spartans we have seen in years past. They got past Notre Dame and our opinions changed. Since then they have lost to a good Wisconsin team, but also to the likes of Indiana, Maryland, BYU and Northwestern. This is going to possibly be a big blowout in the rivalry history. Let’s see what could happen below.
What to Expect Against Michigan State
Wilton Speight shouldn’t have much of a challenge against the Spartan secondary. They lost all of the good secondary players in the draft, so chances of them stopping Speight would be slim. The only chance they can slow him down is if the defensive line can create pressure and can force Speight to throw a bad pass.
The rushing attack for the Wolverines may be a little weak. Chris Evans will possibly miss the game with a concussion, but Drake Johnson could make his debut this season in his spot. The offensive line is going to need to shut down Malik McDowell and if they can do that, the run game can exist as well.
Receivers should be seen this week as an asset. Jake Butt will need to step up in coverage as Darboh and Chesson will get most of the attention. Michigan will need to execute in the air if they are going to want to take down Sparty as Michigan State has a better run defense than pass defense. Darian Hicks leads the team in pass deflections with seven and has an interception, so Speight will have to be careful not to throw his way.
The offensive line will be tested with Malik Mcdowell who has five tackles for loss on the year and one and a half sacks. Besides that, Michigan State doesn’t have any other forces on the line. They have only gotten seven sacks all year, while Michigan’s defensive line has gotten 25, so the offensive line shouldn’t have many issues.
As stated above, the defensive line for Michigan has been amazing this year. They have been a force this year and Michigan State’s offensive line hasn’t been impressive since Jack Allen and Jack Conklin have left. Michigan should be able to get into the backfield and attack the Spartans again and again. Taco Chalrton and Chris Wormley along with the rest of the supporting cast should do wonders against the weak offensive line of Michigan State.
Jabrill Peppers will need to be a factor in this game. He was quiet against Illinois, but in this rivalry, you are going to have to prove you are a Heisman candidate and Peppers will need to make a statement on Saturday. Michigan State’s leading rushing LJ Scott only has 93 carries for 464 yards and three touchdowns. If he can get past the defensive line, the linebackers are going have to be the ones to stop him and Mike McCray, Ben Gedeon and Jabrill Peppers will need to help contribute like they have all year.
The passing attack for the Spartans has been horrible all year around. Tyler O’Connor was benched after having a rough start and then Damion Terry came in and didn’t impress. Brian Lewerke has been the guy since and he hasn’t done much to impress Spartan fans. Rumors are that O’Connor and Terry are hurt and that is why Lewerke is out there. Lewerke has thrown for 281 yards and a touchdown and an interception so far this year. This will be his toughest test as Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling have been lock-down cornerbacks for the Wolverines. Lewerke is going to have a tough day getting the ball anywhere.
Overall, Michigan is just too good of a team compared to Michigan State. The rivalry has been lopsided for eight years now and Michigan is looking to take control again of something they once had. Michigan has the number one defense and they will show the Spartans how much they have been thinking about last years heartbreaking loss.
Prediction: #2 Michigan 42 – Michigan State 10