RUSH OFFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #28 in rushing offense (217 yards/game) and #20 in yards per carry (5.35). Leading rusher Karan Higdon (687 yards, 5.73 yards/carry, 6 TD) has missed some time due to injury, but he has carried the ball almost 25 times a game over the last three contests. Backup Chris Evans returned last week but only ran the ball 5 times (for 18 yards), perhaps because the coaching staff didn’t want to run him too much in the return from his hamstring injury. He and Tru Wilson (6 carries, 26 yards last week) both have 35 attempts on the year. Quarterback Shea Patterson busted out a couple runs on zone reads last week, one for an 81-yarder and another for a 7-yard touchdown. The offensive line had its best game last week against Wisconsin, and left tackle Jon Runyan, Jr. was named the team’s top lineman. The offensive line as a whole is #52 in Line Yards, but they have improved throughout the season and should continue to ascend. Michigan State is #1 in rush defense (62 yards allowed/game) and #1 in yards allowed per carry (2.34). Junior linebacker Joe Bachie (6’2″, 238 lbs.) leads the team with 43 tackles, followed by junior safety Justin Layne (6’2″, 185) with 42, and senior Star linebacker Andrew Dowell (6’1″, 220) with 41. Junior defensive end Kenny Willekes (6’4″, 260) leads the team with 9 tackles for loss, while junior defensive tackle Raequan Williams (6’4″, 300) has 6. The Spartans run a 4-3 defense with Dowell serving as a hybrid player. Even though Michigan has been improving, the #1 rush defense is probably going to present some problems for the Wolverines.
Advantage: Michigan State
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