In any given year, it never gets better than this. Michigan State versus Michigan. And this year, when you look at the Michigan Wolverines, it’s almost as if looking at a mirror image from the year before.
Yes, Brady Hoke is the new, latest and greatest revelation in Ann Arbor. And yes, the Wolverines are once again undefeated.
When the Spartans and Wolverines met in A-squared last season, fans and experts were fooled by the early season success of the resurgent Wolverines. Denard Robinson had emerged onto the scene as the best early season dual-threat quarterback in the nation. But that was all before they had been opposed by a decent defense.
The same can be said this year as well about their offense. Offensive Coordinator Al Borges may employ a pro-style offense, but they still run many “smoke and mirror” plays that we’ve seen before. And thus far, the results have been the same.
Michigan’s only true offensive threat remains quarterback Denard Robinson. In 2010, he racked up 4,272 total yards, which totaled 67.2-percent of Michigan’s overall offense. Robinson averaged 330 yards per [..]
It’s taken a few days to digest the impressive nature of the whooping MSU’s defense laid on Ohio State last Saturday. I keep looking at the box score and see a number NINE in the sack column, followed by a 13.0 in the tackles for loss department. Then, without fail, I slap myself in the face in amazement.
However, putting the defensive effort into perspective is kind of hard for a few reasons. One, it was against a run-first quarterback (Braxton Miller) who was making his second collegiate start. Two, it came against an offensive line which had allowed 5 sacks for 30 yards in the previous four games. And three – the most impressive reason in my mind – it wasn’t just two or three guys doing all of the damage. It was EVERYONE! But of course, to have the nation’s top ranked defensive, everyone needs to be involved.
After Saturday’s defensive beat down of Ohio State, the Spartans still rank tops in the nation in total defense, allowing just 173.4 yards per game. If you combine that with MSU’s potent offense (398 ypg), the Spartans outgain their opponents by just over 224 yards per [..]
If there’s a bigger game on Michigan State’s remaining schedule than this weekend’s tilt with Ohio State, please fill me in.
Yes, the subsequent schedule of top-20 opponents in Michigan, Wisconsin, and a road tilt at Nebraska loom large in the month of October. And yes, each one is big in its own right. (Maybe “big” isn’t quite the correct term for it. I’ve heard people call it the “Murderer’s Row Schedule” and the “Ides of October”)
But in my mind this game isn’t just important for Michigan State. It’s more than that because of the chain reaction effect it could have on the rest of the season. With a win, the Spartans can say, “You know what, despite our deficiencies on special teams thus far and the lack of continuity along the o-line, we’ve come together, improved and won a big game.”
Also, do you know what a win would do for the confidence of a team and a program that in recent years has struggled to play well in some of its bigger road games? Even more, how about a win at Ohio State? It hasn’t been done since 1998, and remains the loan team in conference – aside from Nebraska – [..]