Michigan vs. Michigan State Prediction, Game Preview

    Michigan vs. Michigan State prediction and game preview. A battle for state bragging rights takes place in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines host the Spartans.

    October 13, 2015


    Okay, Michigan (5-1), this is the chance you’ve been waiting years for. There actually were a few nice moments under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke, but come on – there wasn’t anything like this, with the College Football Playoff a realistic goal with a win. Michigan State (6-0) has been shaky, but it’s still unbeaten and looking to make a statement of its own. Check out the Michigan vs. Michigan State prediction and game preview.

    Michigan vs. Michigan State Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, Oct. 17
    Game Time: 3:30 pm
    Venue: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
    Network: ESPN

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    Why You Need To Care

    Really, how good is Michigan? The Wolverines might not be giving up a thing, with three straight shutouts and just 14 points allowed in the last five games, the defense has been phenomenal, and the offense has done what it’s needed to do, but is beating Northwestern really that big a deal? How about beating BYU? Oregon State, UNLV and Maryland are no big deal, but if it was so easy to stop offenses cold, everyone would do it.

    The Utah loss now looks fantastic, and it doesn’t even count anymore. If the Wolverines can win the Big Ten title, even if they’re able to do it at 11-2, they’re probably in. 12-1 absolutely gets it done, and even though three of the next four games are on the road before facing Ohio State, it’s smooth sailing until the Buckeyes come to town.

    Michigan State is finally back in the spotlight in a game that really matters. The Oregon win doesn’t really look like much now, and struggling against the Big Ten’s worst teams looked awful – really, Spartans, you had to work that hard to beat Purdue and Rutgers? – but all that matters is the record. As long as the Spartans are unbeaten, everything else is just conversation. For all the struggles and all the issues with an inconsistent offense and an overappreciated defense, one win over the red hot Wolverines wipes everything else away and proves that, yeah, this really is the playoff-caliber team everyone thought it was in the preseason.

    Why Michigan State Will Win

    Michigan State, for all its issues, isn’t making major mistakes. +8 on the year in turnover margin, the defense is doing its job coming up with 11 takeaways and with the offense with giving the ball away just three times. Michigan was flawless against Northwestern, and it didn’t make any mistakes against BYU, but it gave it up three times against Maryland. Can Michigan State win the turnover battle and make Michigan start to press a little bit? Northwestern lost to Michigan because it got behind and had to get out of its offensive comfort zone and couldn’t handle it, but this MSU team isn’t going to have that problem in the Wolverines get up early. On the flip side, if Michigan State can get up right away and make Jake Rudock throw the picks that haven’t been there for a while should start coming. For what it’s worth, and it was two years ago and on a different team, but Rudock threw two picks in Iowa’s loss to Michigan State in 2013.

    Why Michigan Will Win

    The 2013 Michigan State defense that shut down just about everyone on the way to the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl win allowed more than 200 rushing yards just once – the title game win over Ohio State, when Urban Meyer forgot to keep feeding Carlos Hyde. On the year, MSU allowed a grand total of 1,212 rushing yards and eight scores, allowing 100 yards or more just four times on the year. Last year’s defense wasn’t as much of a rock against the better ground games, but it only allowed 3.2 yards per carry. So far this season, Michigan State has allowed 781 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with teams that can’t run the ball like Purdue and Rutgers able to get the ground attack going. MSU stuffed Oregon, but that’s not the power attack that Michigan is bringing. At the moment, Michigan’s O line couldn’t be playing better with five straight games of 198 rushing yards or more, after hitting that mark just three times last year. It’s all working hand in hand – the Wolverine D has been great, but the running game has done its part.

    Player Who Matters

    Michigan, welcome to a quarterback. The Wolverines are going to stop everyone’s running game, including Michigan State’s, but this week it’s going to have to deal with a passing attack. Utah’s Travis Wilson is the best the Wolverines have faced so far, throwing for 208 yards on a 24-of-33 day in the opener.

    The other quarterbacks? Oregon State’s Seth Collins is a runner, and was a new guy to the starting mix. UNLV’s Blake Decker is okay, but he’s hardly an elite talent, BYU’s Tanner Mangum is a backup, Maryland’s Caleb Rowe just isn’t that good, and Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson will be great, but he’s just a freshman.

    Connor Cook against a Michigan defense that was in the same world as this year’s? He threw for 227 yards and a score averaging over ten yards per pass in the win, and was almost flawless in the 2013 win throwing for 252 yards and a score. He’s been in more than his share of huge games and pressure circumstances, and he’s been fantastic.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    A few weeks ago, Georgia was the IT team about to take its season off to a whole other level. Alabama was in trouble, playing poorly against Ole Miss and ready to take a step back overall as the dynasty was about to show just how far it faded. Instead, the Crimson Tide came into Athens fully focused and showed why it was considered such a big deal in the first place. Michigan State isn’t as Alabama’s level, but it’s about to do the same thing. Connor Cook will out play Jake Rudock. It’ll be that simple.

    Michigan vs. Michigan State Prediction

    Final Score: Michigan State 20, Michigan 17, Line: Michigan -8.5, o/u: Michigan 40.5
    Must See Rating: 5: Trojan War – 1: The Muppets … 5

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 6

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