All across the state of Michigan, battle lines are being drawn in offices, classrooms, backyards and living rooms. This is Michigan vs Michigan State game week. The hype and intensity will rage all week as fans of both teams gear up for Saturday’s 3:30 kick off. The game will be played at Spartan Stadium with both squads sporting one-loss records. How they have arrived at this point in their respective seasons is a tale of two very different teams.
Michigan State’s offense struggled out of the starting blocks and the Spartans lost a game to Notre Dame that they would certainly like to have back. However, their defense has been fantastic and the offense has found a QB in Connor Cook and a rhythm as they head into this week’s showdown.
Michigan on the other hand, started strong, scoring 100 points in the first two weeks – including a decisive victory over Notre Dame. From there, things unraveled on the turnover plagued Wolverines. Michigan narrowly dodged being upset by Akron and UConn, but their luck ran out at Penn State in a 4 OT debacle that they seemingly had won at least 3 times.
Truth be told, how the two teams got to this point is largely irrelevant. When the Spartans and Wolverines clash on the gridiron, you can count on one thing, a hard-hitting affair and a game that will likely go down to the wire. The records don’t matter.
All eyes will be on the trenches, were Michigan State appears to have a decided advantage. The Wolverines will most likely be starting their third different offensive line combination of the season as true freshman, Kyle Bosch, is expected to start at guard. Expect MSU to attack Michigan’s line aggressively and pursue Devin Gardner relentlessly with the hope of inducing a game-changing turnover from a player who has been prone to coughing up the ball.
Michigan’s defense can be hard to figure, at times they have looked good and at other times they’ve hung on for dear life against lesser opponents, Akron for instance. Star linebacker Jake Ryan has two games under his belt now and a bye week for good measure. He should easily log the most snaps he has played this season.
Both teams are led by great players. Michigan State’s defense is led by two of the top defenders in the country; linebacker Max Bullough and defensive back Darqueze Dennard. Michigan features an All-American at left tackle in Taylor Lewan and a dynamic playmaker at quarterback in Devin Gardner. Both coaching staffs are first-rate and they’ll unleash their full playbooks this week. Nothing will be held back on either sideline.
The prize for the winning team is not just a seat in the front of the Legends Division bus, but also bragging rights and one big old trophy. When this trophy changes hands it can be an awkward moment. The Spartans were reluctant to give it up last year after falling 12-10 at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines will be bringing the trophy with them and if they don’t get to tote it back home on that jaunt across I-96, it’s not going to be a happy moment for the Maize and Blue.
Keep your browser tuned in to isportsweb all week as our Michigan and Michigan State writers will be churning out passionate and opinionated content all the way until kick off. We’ll have point/counter point articles, game previews from both perspectives, we’ll identify the key players from both teams and much more. We’ll also be running a real-time discussion during the game live on the site.
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