RUSH OFFENSE vs. MSU RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #57 in rushing offense (170.7 yards/game) and #76 in rushing average (4.23 yards/carry), but they’re tied for #19 in rushing touchdowns (23), which shows how dedicated they are to the run when they get into the red zone. Freshman Zach Charbonnet (559 yards, 11 TD) and redshirt freshman Hassan Haskins (426 yards, 2 TD) have turned into a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield. The wild card for Michigan is quarterback Shea Patterson, who has been hesitant to keep the ball but already has more rushing touchdowns (5) than last year (2). Michigan State is #16 in rush defense (108 yards allowed/game), even after getting drubbed by Ohio State a few weeks ago, when they gave up 6.83 yards/carry on 49 attempts. Leading tackler Joe Bachie got suspended for the rest of the year for use of PEDs, which is the norm in East Lansing, so the leading available tackler is linebacker Antjuan Simmons (6’0″, 216 lbs.). Simmons and defensive end Kenny Willekes (6’4″, 260) lead the team with 12 and 9 tackles for loss, respectively.
Advantage: Michigan State
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PASS OFFENSE vs. MSU PASS DEFENSE
Michigan is #78 in passing offense (219 yards/game) and #79 in passer efficiency rating, despite a senior quarterback and a trio of highly touted receivers; Shea Patterson himself is #8 in the conference in PER and yards per attempt (7.5). Despite not playing much against Maryland two weeks ago, Ronnie Bell leads the team with 28 catches for 471 yards. Behemoth wideout Nico Collins is averaging almost 20 yards per catch, but the most puzzling one is Donovan Peoples-Jones, who averages a pedestrian 10.1 yards/catch on 20 receptions. Michigan is #33 in sacks allowed, giving up 1.56 per contest. The Spartans are tied for #29 in sacks with 25, led by Willekes (5.5) and Raequan Williams (3.5), a 6’4″, 303 lb. penetrator. Overall, MSU is #53 in passing defense (215 yards allowed/game) and #57 in PER defense. Josiah Scott (5’10”, 171) is the top cornerback with 2 interceptions and 4 pass breakups.
RUSH DEFENSE vs. MSU RUSH OFFENSE
Michigan is tied at #21 in the country, giving up 112.7 yards/game on the ground. Teams are gaining just 2.86 yards per attempt against the Wolverines, which is #9 nationally. After getting shredded by Wisconsin, Michigan has allowed fewer than 2.9 yards per carry to each team, except the 3.8 they gave up to Penn State. Viper linebacker Khaleke Hudson leads the team with 77 tackles, followed by weakside linebacker Jordan Glasgow (63) and safety Brad Hawkins (50). Weakside end Kwity Paye leads the squad with 10 tackles for loss. Michigan has often been running a three-man front, getting better athletes on the field instead of another so-so defensive tackle. Michigan State is #108 in rushing offense (130.9 yards/game) and #101 in rushing average (3.76 yards/carry). Lead running back Elijah Collins (6’0″, 217) has run roughshod over a couple bad defenses this year (45 carries for 362 yards against WMU and Illinois), but against ranked teams, he has 54 carries for 188 yards (3.48 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown. Quarterback Brian Lewerke (6’3″, 216) is a Shea Patterson-like threat with 265 yards and 1 touchdown this season. Nobody else has gained even 80 yards this year. Up front MSU’s offensive line is missing a few pieces, including its starting left tackle, left guard, and center.
PASS DEFENSE vs. MSU PASS OFFENSE
Michigan is #5 in pass defense (153.6 yards/game) and #15 in passer efficiency rating defense. No team has completed more than 56% of its passes against the Wolverines in the last five weeks, and Penn State made some big plays in the form of slot receiver K.J. Hamler. Cornerback Lavert Hill leads the team with 6 pass breakups, with corner Vincent Gray (5) and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (5!!!) just behind. Hill, corner Ambry Thomas, and safety Brad Hawkins each have 2 interceptions. SAM linebacker and part-time end Josh Uche has 7.5 sacks, while Paye has 5.5. Michigan State is tied for #17 in sacks allowed (12), but they’re #65 in passing offense (235 yards/game) and #110 in passing efficiency. The Spartans have not completed more than 58.1% of their passes over the past six weeks, and Lewerke’s passer rating is #11 in the conference. Leading receiver Darrell Stewart, Jr. is not expected to play after suffering a leg injury and tight end Matt Dotson is out for the year, so the Spartans have just one receiver averaging multiple catches per game: junior Cody White (6’3″, 215), who has 37 catches for 527 yards and 2 scores. Tight end Matt Seybert (6’4″, 252) has 19 catches for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns. There’s not a lot of speed on the edge for the Spartans.
- MSU players recruited by Michigan include: WR Julian Barnett, OL Spencer Brown, OL Devontae Dobbs, TE Matt Dotson, OL Kevin Jarvis, DT Naquan Jones, QB Brian Lewerke, LB Marcel Lewis, OL Jordan Reid, LB Antjuan Simmons, LB Tyriq Thompson
- MSU safety Tate Hallock and linebacker Tanner Hallock are the sons of former Detroit Lions FB Ty Hallock
- MSU linebacker Tyriq Thompson is the son of former Michigan safety Clarence Thompson
- MSU linebacker Ed Warinner is the son of Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED…
- Michigan won in 2018 by a score of 21-7
- Shea Patterson completed 14/25 passes for 212 yards, 2 TD, and 0 INT
- Donovan Peoples-Jones caught a 79-yard TD pass
- Karan Higdon ran 33 times for 144 yards
- MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke completed 5/25 passes for 66 yards
- MSU ran for a total of 15 yards on 23 carries
- Michigan State hits a trick play for big yardage
- Kwity Paye makes 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks
- Michigan 28, Michigan State 10
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