Preview: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Preview: Michigan vs. Michigan State


October 6, 2017

RUSH OFFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE RUSH DEFENSE

Michigan is #51 in rushing offense (184.5 yards/game) and #65 in yards per carry (4.28). It’s been an up-and-down season so far, with Ty Isaac leading the way in the first three games and then Chris Evans leading the team in rushing for the Purdue game. Meanwhile, Karan Higdon started the Purdue game but has the lowest yards per carry of the three at 4.12. Isaac appeared to suffer a rib injury two games ago, and he looked extra tentative last game. Hopefully the bye week allowed him to heal, because he’s averaging 6.25 yards/carry this year. The offensive line is iffy, even though Michigan has stayed intact since the spring. Redshirt sophomore right tackle Nolan Ulizio is the weak spot, and sophomore right guard Michael Onwenu is that rare offensive lineman who gets rotated out of the game at times (replaced by redshirt sophomore Jon Runyan, Jr.) because he gets gassed. On the other side of the ball, Michigan State is #16 in rushing defense (96 yards allowed/game) and #19 in yards per carry allowed (3.07). They have done that while only being #63 in tackles for loss, which means they’re making a ton of tackles for short gains. Sophomore middle linebacker Joe Bachie (6’2″, 233 lbs.) leads the team with 34 tackles and 4 tackles for loss, while senior strongside linebacker Chris Frey (6’1″, 238) is second in TFLs with 3.0. Junior strong safety Khari Willis (6’0″, 215) is entrenched as the starter there and is second on the team with 24 tackles. The Spartans aren’t very big at the end positions, but defensive tackles Raequan Williams (6’4″, 300) and Mike Panasiuk (6’4″, 294) are powerful and will give Michigan trouble.
Advantage: Michigan State

Hit the jump for more.

PASS OFFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE PASS DEFENSE

Michigan is down a starting quarterback in Wilton Speight, but it’s rare that a team has a fifth year senior backup with almost two years of starting experience under his belt. Statistically, John O’Korn had the best game a Michigan quarterback has had in almost a year when he played Purdue (69% completions, 270 yards), and he used the tight ends heavily. Michigan is #72 in passing offense (223 yards/game) and #69 in passing efficiency rating. O’Korn would be the #10 most efficient passer in the nation if he had enough attempts to qualify (Speight is ranked #87), but he will probably take a step back against a better defense that is prepared to defend him. The leading receiver is Grant Perry (13 catches, 163 yards, 1 TD), but Kekoa Crawford is the most targeted (7/99/1) for some reason. Sophomore tight end Sean McKeon is the only other active player with double-digit catches (10/120/0) besides Perry. As for the pass protection . . . yikes. Michigan is #110 for giving up 3 sacks per game, and Ulizio is a weakness there, too. Michigan State will probably run a lot of Cover 4, but the personnel is in flux. I expect to see 6’3″, 180 lb. sophomore Justin Layne start at one corner and Willis to start at strong safety; otherwise, the jury is out on starters in the defensive backfield. The Spartans are #9 in passing defense (152.3 yards allowed/game), #5 in passer rating allowed, and tied for #95 in interceptions (2). They’re tied for #67 in sacks with 9, and Frey leads the way with 2.5. It’s not an imposing or talented group when taken separately, but they’re getting the job done fairly well as a whole. I expect MSU to put a ton of pressure on O’Korn, who is not quite as poised as Speight in the pocket and can get spooked. However, O’Korn is more athletic and made some plays on the move against Purdue, so if he keeps his wits, he should continue to be dangerous outside the pocket.
Advantage: Michigan State

RUSH DEFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE RUSH OFFENSE

Michigan is the #1 rush defense in both yards (69.25 yards allowed/game) and yards per carry (2.20). They’re also one of four teams that has allowed only 1 rushing touchdown this season. Middle linebacker Devin Bush, Jr. leads the team with 33 tackles, followed by WILL Mike McCray II (26) and defensive end Chase Winovich (24). Surprisingly, they’re tied at #25 with 34 tackles for loss, which is a decent number, but it means Michigan is making a lot of stops after short gains. Michigan State is #51 at allowing tackles for loss behind a green offensive line. That unit has decent size, except for 6’8″, 284 lb. left tackle Cole Chewins, a redshirt sophomore. Center Brian Allen (6’2″, 302) is the best of the bunch. The Spartans are #50 in rushing offense (187.5 yards/game) and #54 in rushing average (4.49). Quarterback Brian Lewerke leads the team in rushing (248 yards, 6.53 yards/carry, 2 TDs), but the normally solid running backs in East Lansing are averaging 3.69 (L.J. Scott), 3.89 (Gerald Holmes), and 3.43 yards (Madre London). The team numbers are propped up by Lewerke’s stats, so if Michigan can keep him in the pocket, they should be good in shape.
Advantage: Michigan

PASS DEFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE PASS OFFENSE

The Wolverines are #4 in passing defense (134 yards allowed/game), #2 in completion percentage allowed (41%), and #2 in passer rating defense. Their worst game was when Florida completed 53.8% of their passes for 181 yards, 0 TDs, and 0 INTs. Middle linebacker Bush actually leads the team with 5 pass breakups, while backup corner Brandon Watson (3 PBUs) and Khaleke Hudson (3 PBUs) are tied for second. They’re tied at #80 in interceptions with just 3 so far. Teams don’t get many chances to throw the ball, because Michigan is #5 in sacks with 18. Winovich (5.5) and Bush (4.5) lead the unit in that category, and both Maurice Hurst, Jr. and Rashan Gary can get after the quarterback, too. Michigan has been running a lot of a 3-3-5 defense this season that limits the effectiveness of Hurst and Gary in the pass rush, but if they go to a four-front – which I expect a little more – then that will free those guys up more. Michigan State is #33 in sacks allowed with just 6, and it’s largely because Lewerke can move. He’s completing 63.2% of his passes for 963 yards, 8 TDs, and 2 INTs. Junior wide receiver Felton Davis III (6’4″, 195) had a big game last week against Iowa (9 catches, 114 yards, 2 TDs) but hadn’t made more than 4 catches in the three previous games. He presents a challenge to Michigan’s young cornerbacks because of his size and strength, but the secret to Michigan’s pass defense right now is the pressure they put on quarterbacks. Darrell Stewart, Jr. (6’2″, 210) is second on the team with 17 catches for 170 yards and 1 score, so Lewerke spreads the ball pretty evenly between his top two receivers. Tight end Matt Sokol (6’6″, 250) is a big target but nothing special athletically. Michigan should have the advantage here unless MSU finds a way to stave off Michigan’s pass rush, which is unlikely.
Advantage: Michigan

ROSTER NOTES

  • Michigan State players who were recruited by Michigan include: WR Cam Chambers, TE Matt Dotson, OT Dennis Finley, OG Kevin Jarvis, DT Naquan Jones, LB Shane Jones, CB Justin Layne, QB Brian Lewerke, DE Brandon Randle, OT Jordan Reid, LB Antjuan Simmons, LB Tyriq Thompson, QB Messiah DeWeaver
  • Michigan State QB Messiah DeWeaver was committed to Michigan at one time
  • Michigan State WR Hunter Rison is the son of former MSU/NFL WR Andre Rison
  • Michigan State LB Antjuan Simmons played at Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer, right across the street from Michigan Stadium
  • Michigan State LB Tyriq Thompson is the son of former Michigan safety Clarence Thompson

LAST TIME THEY PLAYED . . .

  • MSU’s Lewerke broke his leg when tackled by Jabrill Peppers
  • MSU’s L.J. Scott ran 22 times for 139 yards and 1 TD
  • Wilton Speight completed 16/25 passes for 0 TDs and 1 INT
  • Eddie McDoom led Michigan in rushing with 2 carries for 53 yards
  • Amara Darboh made 8 catches for 165 yards
  • Michigan went up 30-10 before winning by a score of 32-23. The scoring was topped off by a Jabrill Peppers 2-point conversion return.

PREDICTIONS

  • Chris Evans runs for 75 yards and 1 touchdown
  • John O’Korn throws for 2 touchdowns and 1 interception
  • Felton Davis III scores a TD on a jump ball over David Long
  • Michigan 27, Michigan State 18

51 comments

  1. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 174
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Oct 06, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    I actually think MSU will take this one, I think they will run the ball better and Lewerke will make more plays than O’Korn. Should be a close game though.

    • Comments: 2172
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 06, 2017 at 8:21 AM

      It wouldn’t surprise me if MSU wins. But Michigan’s defense is better, so I give U of M the edge. Lewerke might be the difference. I liked him coming out of high school, and he’s doing a good job now.

      • Umichjenks
        Comments: 17
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Umichjenks
        Oct 06, 2017 at 8:52 AM

        Magnus, I know O’Korn USA new starter, but no way MSU has an advantage on D vs our passing.

        They have played nobody and Iowa, ND, Western all missed wide open receivers over the top. This is a prime game to beat them over the top and get Gentry heavily involved.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3460
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 06, 2017 at 10:42 AM

          It must be lucky for us that Michigan is incapable of missing over the top.

      • crazyjoedavola
        Comments: 174
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        crazyjoedavola
        Oct 06, 2017 at 12:06 PM

        I think that UM has a better defense than MSU, but I think that UM’s defense will get exposed by the smashmouth offense that MSU runs. I think that UM’s defense is better against spread teams, but it remains to be seen how they’ll fare when hit in the mouth. Last year MSU was able to move the line the scrimmage and I think they can do it again.

        • Comments: 678
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Oct 06, 2017 at 12:18 PM

          MSU OL is even worse this year. They won’t be able to run much more in us than they did on WMU

        • Comments: 17
          Joined: 1/10/2017
          Julio
          Oct 06, 2017 at 1:20 PM

          Sparty moved the line of scrimmage last year? They did well on the first drive and late in the game, but it was a mismatch otherwise and Michigan stopped them regularly.

          Nothing personal, but I’m darkly amused at how many people think that Brown’s defense is going to magically crumble when “hit in the mouth.” I didn’t realize that the prior teams were just gently touching us.

          It’s a rivalry game and anything could happen. Sparty has way more weaknesses than usual.

          Channeling a certain frequent poster here, this would easily be Harbaugh’s worst loss at Michigan. The whole O-line situation is bumming me out.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3460
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 06, 2017 at 1:52 PM

            We have no shot against traditional power running teams. They’ll just run right over Peppers, I mean Bush, and that is that.

            http://www.espn.com/college-football/boxscore?gameId=400869664

          • crazyjoedavola
            Comments: 174
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            crazyjoedavola
            Oct 06, 2017 at 3:54 PM

            didn’t they run for over 200 yards last year? I am too lazy to check the stats so I am going off of memory.

        • Comments: 434
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 06, 2017 at 1:48 PM

          This is actually a very good point. How does UM stack up against the run game of MSU. I would clearly try and run the ball against UM and minimize the blitz of UM. This is going to be interesting on whether Brown goes to a 4 down linemen set with Mone and how Bush does.

          You bring up another great point that MSU on the 1st drive last year just ran it down the throats of UM. The only thing is that MSU doesn’t have necessarily a great OL but Brown is going to have to protect Bush if Scott is barreling down hill.

          Good news is that Hurst and McCray can handle bigger guys. Got some other guys like Gary and Mone so they are equipped to handle some physicality but the Brown spread defense is going to have to morph into a slightly different alignment against MSU.

          I see a lot of Lewerke play action runs. Think some form of the wildcat.

  2. Comments: 137
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 06, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    LaWurkee fell apart against ND at home and now He’ll suddenly find comfort playing their first road game of the season against Michigan’s defense in The Big House?

    I’ll stick by my original preseason pik: Michigan’s O, D & SpT finally complement each other as Wolverines win big!
    Homer 4 a day………….INTJohn

    • Comments: 2172
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 06, 2017 at 11:06 AM

      I didn’t say it WOULD happen, but he’s a young kid with upside. Here’s Lewerke’s stat line from the Notre Dame game:

      31/51 (60.8%) for 340 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT

      Those aren’t terrible numbers. He also ran 9 times for 56 yards.

      • Comments: 4
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        MH20
        Oct 06, 2017 at 11:27 AM

        That Lewerke stat line is misleading. Considering that MSU gained nearly half of their yards after ND went up 35-10 midway through the third quarter, I would say that a decent portion of his yards also came when the game was essentially over and ND backed off defensively and offensively.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3460
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 06, 2017 at 11:45 AM

          OK but you can see that other QBs have struggled against ND.

          Jake Fromm 16/29 141 yd 4.9ypa 1TD 1INT 13.2 QBR
          Anthony Brown 24/40 215 yd 5.4 ypa 2TD 2INT 36.1 QBR

          Struggling in the first half is no great indictment. Lewerke isn’t a world beater but he’s been effective every game, especially considering the 40-80 yards he adds on the ground.

        • Comments: 678
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Oct 06, 2017 at 12:21 PM

          Not really. I watched the game, and despite the mistake(s), lewerke was by far the best asset for sparty’s offense
          He should end up being pretty good in the next few years

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3460
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 06, 2017 at 1:12 PM

          Lewerke was also 6-10 for 100 yards and a TD in 2 drives in last year’s game (plus 24 yards rushing). The 2 drives he got were each about 60 yards – one was a TD, the other was a red zone 4th down stop.

          Maybe M was playing soft coverage at that point…But at some point we should probably stop rationalizing and acknowledge that Lewerke is probably pretty decent.

          • Comments: 20
            Joined: 1/29/2016
            maizinblue88
            Oct 06, 2017 at 2:03 PM

            Lewerke can make plays, but he trusts his legs too much and is often inaccurate. MSU receivers have been excellent at bailing him out with balls thrown to their feet or behind them. He will get sacked a lot against Michigan if he tries to scramble around instead of getting the ball out quickly.

  3. JC
    Comments: 131
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Oct 06, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Closer we get to this game I have the same feelings as when we were coming up on Florida.

    Felt pretty good far out.

    Felt increasingly nervous as the game was approaching.

    On the eve of this game, I don’t feel too bad. I feel like our defense will be able to hold theirs, and our offense should be able to put up at least 20 points, which will be enough to win it.

    If O’Korn throws more than 1 pick six, I think MSU has a chance. I don’t see that happening with MSU’s defense though. They’re putting corners on islands, and I don’t see O’Korn throwing another risky curl route with three defenders in zone coverage, because I don’t think MSU will have those three defenders in zone coverage. I think Ulizio and our RBs should be able to hold up against a linebacker playing DE. I don’t think O’Korn will face tremendous pressure.

    I’m taking basically a push on points, over on the spread, because I don’t think Harbaugh will try to run up the score. He didn’t try to do it at Spartan stadium last year, I don’t think he’ll do it now. Michigan wins 31 10 after leading 21 – 3 at halftime.

  4. Comments: 678
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 06, 2017 at 10:37 AM

    Wow, this one is very specific

    I’ve watched the past two sparty games, and each of ours a few times; both Offenses are far from effective, while Defense for both squads is solid. I think sparty either gets one good drive, or capitalizes on a TO. They’ll get also get a FG late. UM D will keep us in favorable field position, leading to at least two scoring opportunities. 13-6, just win & move on!

    “Felton Davis III scores a TD on a jump ball over David Long”

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 3460
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 06, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    I would not be surprised by a loss – the OL crumbling under pressure, 27 for 27 level run success, Lewerke/Scott combining for a couple maddening clock-killing drives, some bad luck with special teams/turnovers/officials and Dantonio pulling out just enough tricks help Sparty eke out 13-17 points in a puntfest.

    But, true to my offseason form I will stay optimistic and trust in Harbaugh.

    Dumb predictions:
    Michigan running backs go for <2.5 ypc and less than 100 yards combined but the O finds success through the air, using screens and short passes to open things up deep. Maybe some reverses or throwbacks to exploit MSU's aggression. O'Korn passes for over 250 yards. Harbaugh game manages the second half and gets criticized for it. Peters hands off 3 times. Nordin is the leading scorer.

    22-13 Michigan.

    Go Blue

  6. Comments: 98
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Oct 06, 2017 at 11:29 AM

    Trick plays will let MSU pull out this one. The one problem UM defense has is OVER pursuit. Which plays right into the hands of Dantonio and the game prep. Reverse throw-backs, screens, misdirection. Purdue took advantage of it early but didn’t have the qb to make it work consistently. Plus, there’s gonna be either a UM mistake or MSU big play on special teams. I wanna believe but just can’t get over how pathetic this offense seems. 17-13 bad guys.

    • Comments: 4
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      MH20
      Oct 06, 2017 at 12:51 PM

      I don’t understand this post. You act as if MSU is this world beater. They didn’t score a point after halftime against Iowa at home. You also act like Michigan’s coaches took a nap for the past two weeks. The level of trepidation is pretty sad.

      Dwight Schrute would be ashamed to be your avatar.

      • Comments: 98
        Joined: 12/19/2015
        Extrajuice
        Oct 07, 2017 at 8:30 AM

        I’m not sure how you got “world beater” out of what I said. I barely mentioned them. I think your eyes are searching for negativity. And Dwight Schrute will tell you, “The eyes are the groin of the head”.

        • Comments: 98
          Joined: 12/19/2015
          Extrajuice
          Oct 08, 2017 at 12:49 AM

          Hmmmm. 4 PT win, like I projected?? No UM offense. Misdirection TD by Dantonio. I’m sure I deserved that down vote for being right. You owe me 1 weeks work on my beat farm. Suck it.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3460
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 08, 2017 at 11:18 AM

            Congratulations on your victory yesterday.

            • Comments: 98
              Joined: 12/19/2015
              Extrajuice
              Oct 08, 2017 at 7:37 PM

              And congrats on your 3350 post. Of which 3341 of them are just secondary thoughts of your post 3 minutes prior.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3460
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Oct 08, 2017 at 7:51 PM

                thanks for reading

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 06, 2017 at 1:02 PM

      Even Cinci exploited this for a while. I think there is a good chance that MSU finds a way to get on the scoreboard a few times. 17 points is very reasonable for a solid dual-threat QB, a resourceful and highly motivated coaching staff, against a young defense – no matter how talented and impressive they’ve looked so far.

      The game will be won or lost based on Michigan’s ability to pass the ball IMO. If they are one-dimensional and try to run run pass on MSU the best case scenario becomes last year’s slugfest with Indiana. They need to get better at pass protection fast.

      • Comments: 678
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Oct 06, 2017 at 1:27 PM

        Wow, I couldn’t agree more

        ” … very reasonable for a solid dual-threat QB, a resourceful and highly motivated coaching staff, against a young defense – no matter how talented and impressive they’ve looked so far. The game will be won or lost based on Michigan’s ability to pass the ball”

        • Comments: 434
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 06, 2017 at 1:55 PM

          Agree. UM is going to win or lose this game passing the ball. Brown is going to have to throw some different alignments and as someone said, Dantonio is going to bring out the trick plays.

          UM is overall more talented team but the pressure is on UM. I see the UM defense holding up well but Harbaugh and staff are going to have to trust JOK to do his job. Play to win at least in the 1st half but UM is going to need to score a couple of td’s.

          UM has the horses on offense (TE’s) to give MSU trouble. The question is whether this staff will utilize this advantage. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or have a turnover. Defense can offset a turnover here and there and keep it to 3 pts. UM needs to put 17 pts plus on the board.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3460
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 06, 2017 at 2:10 PM

            Brown should keep doing what he’s doing until somebody beats it. Maybe he’ll be forced to adjust like last year but he shouldn’t mess with what’s working too much.

  7. Comments: 434
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 06, 2017 at 1:31 PM

    I think the preview is about right. I expect a close and hard fought game. I do think UM should loosen the reigns as early as possible. Try and get a lead. UM is going to have to trust JOK to put some points on the board. Pass to set up the run.

    I agree with Brian or whomever it was to take shots down the field. If you are at the 40 yard line then throw the ball down the field. The Achilles heel of this MSU defense is you can beat them over the top and UM does have at least some weapons to make plays deep. Playing it close to the vest is counter productive because UM doesn’t have the horses on the OL and the backs to play smash mouth football.

    I see MSU as trying to take away the run game and putting UM is 3rd and long and then blitzing. Play calling is going to be critical.

    UM 17
    MSU 10

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 06, 2017 at 2:05 PM

      FWIW – that site has been theorizing about how big of a liability various players and units are going to be for the better part of decade. This year it’s the secondary. Maybe they’re right this time, but the track record is embarrassingly poor. There have been some perspectives expressed there that just smack of provincial outlooks – talking with emotions instead of logic.

      Lucky for me, I don’t have to deal with many Sparty doofuses, so it’s easy to shrug off some of the silliness. But I still hate Dantonio’s face and every cheap shot gets my blood boiling again.

      Rivalries like this are great to experience and entertaining to watch. But for the more analytical approach – there’s some distortion of reality going on when people get too emotionally invested.

  8. Comments: 25
    Joined: 8/21/2015
    AA7596
    Oct 06, 2017 at 2:09 PM

    Defensive teams like U-M tend to get underrated. It’s easier to feel confident about a seemingly unstoppable QB than it is to grasp the deleterious effect of, for instance, getting to the QB so quickly and so often that it affects his accuracy and decision-making.

    Michigan should be OK tomorrow. MSU needs Lewerke to do a lot and to do it nearly flawlessly—and that’s going to be awfully hard given how much he’s likely to get hit.

  9. Comments: 920
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Oct 07, 2017 at 7:28 AM

    Michigan v. MSU is only about the hitting.

    This has always been the case. It will alway be the case.

    Sure, you’ll get the occasional, once in a lifetime FUBAR exchange on a punt, or a blatant tackled receiver breaking into his route in the end zone. Maybe someone will forget to turn on the clock …..

    But really, it’s only about the hitting.

    Lewerke is a very nice, young QB. They’re fortunate to have him.

    • Comments: 920
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Oct 07, 2017 at 7:30 AM

      I’d take their two interior D linemen too … and Scott, of course.

  10. Comments: 666
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Oct 07, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    It’s quite telling that the Michigan fan base seems to think that it is much more likely that Dantonio will outcoach Harbaugh and make this a closer game than it should be based on talent differential than that Harbaugh will outcoach Dantonio and turn this into a blowout.

    • Comments: 678
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 07, 2017 at 10:44 AM

      For me at least, it’s about historical precedence. Michigan has almost always had the talent advantage. But like other rivalries, when on the field, things happen, and emotions–including hatred–take over

    • GKblue
      Comments: 198
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Oct 07, 2017 at 10:45 AM

      If we buy this train of thought WCB I think it may result from a lack of confidence due to recent years results (yes, there may be a Brady hangover yet), smash mouth football reflects Dantonio’s personality, Harbaugh’s conservatism, a new starting QB, and finally Michigan just doesn’t seem to concern itself with the spread.

      MSU always plays us tough in this rivalry. IMHO, there is reason for caution and reason for confidence. Blow the whistle lets get it on.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 07, 2017 at 11:04 AM

      I think that’s how you feel. “The Michigan fanbase” to the extent that they can agree on anything would rather have Harbaugh than Dantonio, for a multitude of reasons.

      The Michigan fanbase” IS worried about MSU based on the history of the rivalry. As in any heated rivalry, the underdog tends to close the gap. MSU is usually the underdog.

      Dantonio’s success over the last decade is part of that worry, of course. But that says nothing about Harbaugh.

      Head-to-head, they are 1-1 but the MSU win came on a fluke play in Harbaugh’s first year. Last year’s game was a drubbing.

      I think you’re projecting your negativity towards Harbaugh to others. While you are not alone, your views aren’t necessarily reflective of the fanbase.

      • Comments: 666
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 07, 2017 at 2:55 PM

        “As in any heated rivalry, the underdog tends to close the gap”? Prove it. Just because people repeat the “in a big rivalry game, stats go out the window” meme over and over doesn’t mean there’s a shred of evidence to support it.

        And please…can we stop with the “fluke play” bullshit about the 2015 game? Dantonio outcoached Harbaugh. Harbaugh choked on the last offensive drive and ran the ball three times against a team he’d had NO success running the ball against all day, instead of going aggressively for the first down, which would have ended the game without having to punt. Despite having seen lots and lots of teams lose games by playing ultra-conservative, he gave in to the hand-wringing “oh god…if we pass and it’s incomplete, the clock will stop..what will people say??” Dantonio had his players fighting until the very last play. Harbaugh didn’t. Harbaugh didn’t even have the presence of mind to tell his punter “If there’s a problem, just fall on the ball”.

        And if you’ve seen a huge outpouring among the fan base thinking that Harbaugh is going to outcoach Dantonio, feel free to point me to it.

    • Comments: 920
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Oct 07, 2017 at 4:15 PM

      Silly comment … as per usual.

      Dantonio has been a helluva coach for a long time. He is also a fine recruiter. MSU has for the last 6 years pulled in increasingly better talent. Last year they blipped down when the shit hit the fan, but they have plenty of football players, as well as they should, given their commitment to football.

      The miraculous thing about MSU is their propensity for screwing things up given the resources they have poured into that program since and really before Biggie Munn.

      Nobody thinks Dantonio is going to out coach Harbaugh. You are merely hoping for it because of some personal thing you are carrying around with you.

      • Comments: 666
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 07, 2017 at 8:27 PM

        Nobody? So why is everyone predicting that a game against a 3-9 team last year that had a lot of players suspended before this season is going to be anything but a blowout?

      • Comments: 666
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 07, 2017 at 8:44 PM

        Don’t look now, but Harbaugh is being outcoached. Totally and utterly.

  11. Lanknows
    Comments: 3460
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 07, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    You prove me yours, I’ll prove you mine. But you go first.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 07, 2017 at 4:47 PM

      That was intended for WCB – who is happy to demand PROVE IT – but never does so himself.

      • Comments: 666
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 07, 2017 at 8:28 PM

        Prove what? Go over and read MGoBlog (as if you haven’t already). There’s all the proof you need, so please don’t blow smoke up my ass.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3460
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 08, 2017 at 11:06 AM

          If the bar for proof is as low as some mgoblog comments…last night’s result is proof plenty.

          Congrats on the victory last night WCB. While I feel frustrated, disappointed, and upset on this gray day, I can at least see the silver lining that a sad man on the internet has a little joy in his life.

  12. Comments: 678
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 07, 2017 at 9:33 PM

    This is more than just OL, who actually started OK. This has been an outplayed, outhustled, outcoached first half

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 08, 2017 at 11:10 AM

      I agree. The OL’s run-blocking early in the game (before the Isaac fumble) was some of the best I’ve seen in a while. I was very pleasantly surprised.

      Despite the horrible outcome, it offers a glimmer of hope for the rest of the year.

      On the other hand…the rest of the game.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 08, 2017 at 11:16 AM

      I think the OL is the core of it.

      Harbaugh’s offensive philosophy is founded on a dominant OL. It is what Bo had. It is what he developed at Stanford. With a weak OL, he is grasping at straws.

      He has been trying for the 3rd year in a row to mitigate bad run-blocking. There has been some success at times (e.g., jet sweeps, multi-game sets of a strong passing game) but nothing consistent.

      This year, the offense has looked particularly uninspired. That is was true even when the OL seemed to put some solid series together is an indictment of the playcalling. But make no mistake that the playcalling is affected by an OL for which “inconsistent” is about the nicest thing you can say.

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