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Friday, October 16, 2015


(this pre-game report comes from "ATownAndDown")

Can Michigan State win this game? Of course. Can they lose this game? Of course. I don't care who you are, if you can't recognize that U-of-M is ahead of the curve in Jim Harbaugh's first year you are just being a slappy fan that is choosing to ignore it.

What they are doing is very reminiscent of what Coach D did when he first got to MSU with the exception being, 
 has a better defense than MSU did at that time (mostly because John L. Smith had a tendency to focus on offense over defense so much). The tone of the 
 team has changed. Where before they would talk about wanting to be physical now they have stopped talking and are just being physical. They are not doing anything special. Their play is pretty conservative. But they run the ball. They stop the run. And they have a legit secondary. If they avoid mistakes they should be able to compete with most teams.

I don't know if you can look at the competition of either team and say they have or haven't played anyone. MSU has won every game they have stepped on the field for this year. Last time I checked, if you win them all, you are going to have a shot at a championship. Even if 
 has played "less-than" offenses and ran up the score, they have done what they are supposed to do against those "less-thans", right? I feel that if schedules and results were reversed, MSU fans would be saying "What do you expect a top-10 defense to do against a horrible offense?" Because that is what was being said after playing EMU and Wyoming in the past.

I think the way MSU wins this game is by slowing the 
 ground attack and getting pressure on Rudock defensively and taking the leash off Cook early to make plays with his arm and feet. Rudock has a lot of Brian Hoyer in him and we all know Hoyer was a good game manager but he could not go out and win a game on his own. If Cook can get some stuff rolling, like Utah did with Wilson, it will loosen the 
 defense up and open up running lanes for MSU's backs. 
 hasn't faced an offense that has thrown a bunch of big backs at them and if Cook can get safeties and a LB or two out of the box, it might change the tone of the game.

From the counter-point, 
 matches up great against MSU. We have seen teams still find ways to get big plays and even some weaker teams sustain drives against our defense. 
 is a very patient offense that will take what is given and wait for big plays to come. Defensively, they want to stop the run and this year we have been eager to run early and often. You don't want to get into a lot of 3rd-and-long situations against 
's defense.

This will be a real test for both teams. Can 
 compete with the elite teams like RichRod and Hoke struggled with? Was MSU really sandbagging it early in the season and now going to turn it up? Are MSU's injuries bad enough to end a promising season? All those and more will have to be answered soon.

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