Preview: Michigan at Michigan State

Preview: Michigan at Michigan State

October 20, 2023

Michigan is #41 in rushing offense (182 yards/game) and #35 in yards per carry (4.88). I thought Michigan might take off a little bit against Indiana last week, which had the #91 rushing defense, but that didn’t happen so much. Blake Corum (96 carries, 546 yards, 12 touchdowns) leads the way . . . and that includes nationally, because he tops the country in rushing touchdowns. Donovan Edwards has been a disappointment on the ground, averaging just 3.28 yards/carry this year, but he did break through with his first touchdown of the year last week. Kalel Mullings (23 carries, 147 yards, 1 TD) and Ben Hall (11 carries, 60 yards) are also options. Michigan State is #33 in rushing defense (114.8 yards allowed/game) and #36 in yards allowed per carry (3.48). They have only allowed 3 rushing touchdowns this year, which is tied for #8 nationally. But last week against Rutgers, MSU allowed Kyle Monongai to run 24 times for 148 yards and a touchdown. The teams they have shut down in the run game include FCS Richmond, Central Michigan, and the inept Iowa offense. Junior LB Cal Haladay (6’1″, 235 lbs.) leads the team with 41 tackles, followed by S Malik Spencer (6’1″, 195) with 36 and CB Dillon Tatum (5’11”, 200) with 30. The leaders in tackles for loss include DE Zion Young (6’6″, 265) with 4.5 and Haladay with 4. They’re tied at #67 in tackles for loss per game with 5.83. I have a feeling that Michigan might try to bludgeon MSU, and considering the fact that the Spartans have only had success against weak teams, this might be a day for Blake Corum to have a signature performance.
Advantage: Michigan

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Michigan is tied at #70 in passing offense (231.7 yards/game) . . . with Michigan State. The Wolverines are #4 in yards per attempt at 10.1 and #3 in passing efficiency, one spot behind Washington, who eviscerated MSU to the tune of 41 points and 713 yards. Michigan throws the ball much less than Washington does, but they’re almost as efficient. J.J. McCarthy (78.2% completions, 10.6 YPA, 14 TD, 3 INT) is playing at a high level, and Roman Wilson is in a four-way tie for the leading touchdown receiver with 9 scores this year. Michigan is tied at #14 in sacks allowed per game with 1.0, and that represents a fall from last week after they uncharacteristically allowed 4 sacks by Indiana. Michigan State is tied at #58 in sacks per game at 2.33. Senior DE Brandon Wright (6’2″, 250) and senior LB Aaron Brule (6’2″, 240) lead their team with 2 sacks each. They have solid corners with former 4-star Tatum and freshman Chance Rucker (6’1″, 180), but sophomore S Jaden Mangham (6’2″, 185) and nickel Angelo Grose (5’10”, 180) lead the team with 2 interceptions each. Michigan should have the advantage at virtually every spot, the but the best mismatch for Michigan probably comes with whoever’s covering Edwards out of the backfield or TE Colston Loveland.
Advantage: Michigan

Michigan is #11 in rush defense (91 yards allowed/game) and #16 yards allowed per carry (3.06). In four out of seven games, opponents have failed to rush for 100 yards. Conference opponents are averaging 3.38 yards/carry and have scored just 1 rushing touchdown in four games. LB Junior Colson (34 tackles), LB Ernest Hausmann (26), and LB Michael Barrett (25) lead the team in tackles. Michigan is tied for #35 nationally with 6.43 tackles for loss per game and are led by Josaiah Stewart (5.0) and Jaylen Harrell (4.5). Defensive tackles Mason Graham, Kenneth Grant, and Kris Jenkins, Jr. might be the best defensive tackle trio in the nation, even with Graham sporting a cast on his hand after breaking his thumb. Michigan State is #110 in rushing offense (118.7 yards/game) and #110 in yards per carry (3.56). Sophomore RB Nate Carter (5’10”, 200) transferred in from UConn and is the leading rusher with 113 attempts for 529 yards (4.88 yards/carry) and 3 touchdowns, but he has not scored in the past four games. Meanwhile, junior RB Jalen Berger (6’1″, 215) notched 11 carries last week for 49 yards and may earn a bigger role as he comes back from injury. The Spartans have three 315-pounders up front, but senior LG J.D. Duplain (6’4″, 300) and redshirt sophomore RG Kevin Wigenton II (6’5″, 315) are the weak spots.
Advantage: Michigan

Michigan is #2 in pass defense (142.1 yards allowed/game) and #5 in passing efficiency defense. They have allowed just 3 passing touchdowns (tied for #2) and have 9 interceptions, which is tied for #8. Safety Keon Sabb and nickel corner Mike Sainristil each have 2 interceptions. Michigan is tied for #44 in sacks per game with 2.57, led by Harrell (3.5) and Stewart (3.0). The Wolverines have allowed a couple big plays in the passing game, but those plays are few and far between. MSU’s wild card is new starting quarterback Katin Houser (6’3″, 215), a freshman who has completed 60% of his passes for 6.5 yards/attempt, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He has also rushed 11 times for 11 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was a 4-star and the #225 overall player in the 2023 class and flipped from Boise State to Michigan State. The Spartans have spread out the ball fairly evenly between receivers, from leading wideout Montorie Foster, Jr. (6’0″, 185) with 24 catches for 274 yards and 1 touchdown . . . to TE Maliq Carr with 17 catches for 169 yards and 1 touchdown . . . to freshman Jaron Glover (6’1″, 205) with 12 catches for 227 yards. I think this is a functional passing team, but there’s no extremely dangerous receiver like MSU has had at times in the past. They do generally stay out of sack trouble, giving up 1.33 per game, which is good for #23 nationally. Houser is a relative unknown, so he may pose some trouble as Michigan tries to zero in on what he can and cannot do, but this is not an imposing offense overall.
Advantage: Michigan


  • Players recruited by Michigan include: DL Tunmise Adeleye, LB Aaron Alexander, DE Khris Bogle, OL Spencer Brown, TE Maliq Carr, OL Cole Dellinger, OL Dallas Fincher, TE Jaylan Franklin, LB Ma’a Gaoteote, LB Cal Haladay, WR Tyrell Henry, DL Bai Jobe, RB Jaden Mangham, DB Jaren Mangham, LB Darius Snow, DB Dillon Tatum, DL Jalen Thompson, DL Alex VanSumeren
  • Michigan State LB Aaron Alexander and DL Alex VanSumeren were committed to Michigan at one time.
  • Michigan State TE Maliq Carr is the half-brother of 2024 Michigan LB commit Jeremiah Beasley
  • Former Michigan recruiting target and Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer graduate Antjuan Simmons is a graduate assistant at MSU, where he played his college football career


  • On October 30, 2022, Michigan beat MSU 29-7 in a night game at Michigan Stadium
  • QB J.J. McCarthy completed 15/25 passes for 167 yards and 1 touchdown, adding 7 carries for 50 yards
  • RB Blake Corum ran 33 times for 177 yards and 1 touchdown, adding a TD on a 2-yard reception
  • TE Luke Schoonmaker caught 5 passes for 70 yards to lead the team
  • K Jake Moody kicked 5 field goals on 5 attempts
  • Michigan State WR Keon Coleman (now at Florida State) caught 5 passes for 155 yards and 1 TD


  • Michigan 34, Michigan State 10

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