RUSH OFFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE RUSH DEFENSE
Last week against Minnesota, Michigan averaged 8.26 yards per carry, which is currently #1 in the country. It’s only one game, but anytime you average over 8 yards/carry, things look pretty good. Michigan’s revamped offensive line looked good and did not allow much penetration. The mammoth offensive guards were moving people. Michigan’s top two backs, Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, averaged 17.5 and 13.7 yards/carry, respectively. Michigan State is #20 in rush defense after a loss to Rutgers, in which the Spartans allowed 106 yards on 41 carries. (Oddly, they allowed 4 rushing touchdowns.) Leading tackler Antjuan Simmons (6’0″, 225 lbs.) made 11 tackles and Noah Harvey (6’4″, 240) made 9. Defensive end Drew Beesley (6’2″, 260) made 3.5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. The Spartans have some large defensive tackles, namely Naquan Jones (6’4″, 340), but Jones tends to be somewhat upright and shouldn’t get a ton of penetration.
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PASS OFFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE PASS DEFENSE
Starting quarterback Joe Milton registered a very nice passer efficiency rating of 169.09 during his first career start, going 15/22 for 225 yards and 1 touchdown. He ran himself into a sack and threw a couple deep and intermediate passes that were off the mark, but it was a good night overall. Pass protection was good overall, and Michigan’s receivers were getting open. I was impressed with the crispness of Milton’s short throws on bubble screens. If I were Michigan State, I might try to play a little tighter on the edges and force Milton to complete downfield passes. I don’t think that would be a winning recipe, but it might be worth a shot. The Spartans allowed Rutgers to complete 63% of their passes for 170 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Those are mediocre numbers, but the Scarlet Knights are a mediocre team. Michigan State starting corners Kalon Gervin and Shakur Brown are both 5’11” and 190 lbs. They have reasonably good athleticism, but they are not as physical as past MSU corners. Michigan’s speed at wide receiver should give the Wolverines a leg up.
RUSH DEFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE RUSH OFFENSE
Michigan gave up 140 yards on 26 carries to Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim, but I believe that was largely a structural issue based on Michigan adjusting to receiver Rashod Bateman. The linebackers and defensive backs took some bad angles, but I think they will be able to play Michigan State more traditionally, which will eliminate some of those cutbacks. Weakside linebacker Joshua Ross led Michigan’s team with 9 tackles. I believe Michigan can take advantage of the left side of MSU’s offensive line, where 6’7″, 300 lb. left tackle A.J. Arcuri and 6’4″, 310 lb. left guard J.D. Duplain reside. That’s usually where Kwity Paye lines up, so I think this is a plus matchup. I like the burst that freshman running back Jordon Simmons (5’11”, 195) brings, but that only netted him 43 yards on 14 carries. I think the Spartans should try to get on the edge with bubbles and tosses, forcing Michigan’s depleted secondary to come up and tackle.
PASS DEFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE PASS OFFENSE
Michigan’s passing efficiency defense ranks #19 in the country after allowing the RPO-heavy Golden Gophers just 197 yards passing in the opener. The secondary is a little iffy, but the pass rush got home against Minnesota and should against Michigan State, too. New head coach Mel Tucker is more spread-oriented, and I think that will hurt their ability to provide solid protection like they have in recent years with play action, tight ends, and fullbacks. I like MSU receivers Jayden Reed (6’0″, 185) and Jalen Nailor (6’0″, 185), but Reed fumbled twice and they don’t seem to be on the same page as quarterback Rocky Lombardi. Most importantly, I don’t think Lombardi knows the chapter. He completed 31/43 passes for 319 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions last week against Rutgers, but he often looked confused. And Michigan’s no Rutgers.
- Michigan State players offered by Michigan: CB Julian Barnett, OT Devontae Dobbs, TE Matt Dotson, OG Dallas Fincher, DE Michael Fletcher, CB Kalon Gervin, TE Trenton Gillison, LB Cal Halady, DT Naquan Jones, OT Jordan Reid, LB Antjuan Simmons, S Darius Snow, WR Ian Stewart
- S Ty Hallock is the son of former Detroit Lions FB/LB Ty Hallock
- S Darius Snow is the son of former Michigan State point guard Eric Snow and the nephew of former Michigan State linebacker Percy Snow
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED
- On November 16, 2019, Michigan beat Michigan State by a score of 44-10
- Shea Patterson completed 24/33 passes for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns
- Ronnie Bell caught 9 passes for 150 yards
- Carlo Kemp made 4 tackles and 1.5 sacks
- Michigan State quarterback completed 17/30 passes for 166 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions
- Michigan State rushes for fewer than 75 yards
- Drew Beesley gives Ryan Hayes a tough time
- Giles Jackson leads the team in receiving
- Michigan 45, Michigan State 17
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