It’s rivalry week in the state of
Both teams are trying to gear up for the upcoming gridiron showdown in
One month ago, one would have been hard pressed to convince anyone in the
Going one step further, it would have been next to impossible to convince those same sports pundits that
I thought the “Bakery Basket Opponent” for the Spartans would be
But today I don’t know. I really don’t know.
If we look at both teams and what they’ve achieved so far, there are some very interesting similarities. In any college football match up, we tend to focus on the differences and any identifiable competitive advantages between the two opponents. Let’s took at some important statistics to compare these two teams after just 4 football games.
Michigan State's Offensive and Defensive Yards Per Point Statistics:
|MSU||MSU||Opp||Plays||Yards||PPP||YpPlay||YpPoint||Opp Yards||Def YpPoint|
Michigan's Offensive and Defensive Yards Per Point Statistics:
|UM||UM||Opp||Plays||Yards||PPP||YpPlay||YpPoint||Opp Yards||Def YpPoint|
MSU Offense Vs.
So what happens when the Spartans unleash their aerial assault on
OK, actually I really meant “Bend But Not Break”.
Against the pass this year, Michigan has been spectacularly awful (to put it mildly): 975 yards given up, 244 yards per game, ranked 102nd of all 120 FBS teams. Rushing defense is only slightly better, but nothing to crow about: 568 yards given up, 142 yard per game, and ranked 77th in the land.
But when it comes to scoring defense,
That’s where the bending comes in.
You know – bent over completely with discoloration at cracks and the seams, coming damn close but not quite snapping right in half?
Yet, with this being Michigan’s first road test against a hated cross-state rival, one might call into question Michigan’s ability to successful mix past fortune with the walking disaster that represents Michigan’s overall defense and expect anything but a huge letdown this week.
If there’s any goods news in 2009, it’s that
Offensively, the Wolverines are ranked similarly to the Spartans nationally, averaging 422 yards per game, 38 points per game, and ranked 30th in total offense. When it comes to running the ball, Rodriguez has proven that his methodology for this game delivers results in about 24 months.
So What Gives?
Is that all? Is there any other compelling difference here between the two teams?
Above we noted that MSU’s offensive yards per point has been 13.4 so far.
While MSU is doing an equally horrible job on defense of stopping anyone this year as
The Good Match Ups Unfortunately Don’t Match Up
When MSU is on offense, it will be MSU’s strength (awesome passing) versus
Sparty, here’s that perfect scenario you’ve been looking for but could never find after the first 4 games.
In summary, defensively speaking,
Penalties and Special Teams
Sometimes rivalry games go down to the wire and like that ridiculous sport called "soccer", it can all boil down to penalties and infuriating sissy kicks in the final moments to determine the victor.
As for special teams, both punters are excellent.
A final game preview of Michigan at Michigan State will be coming soon later this week.....