Rivalry Game Breakdown:
Michigan State Spartans (MSU) (4-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) vs. University of Michigan Wolverines (UofM) (4-2, 2-0 in Big Ten), Saturday October 20th, 2012 at Ann Arbor, MI at The Big House, a.k.a. Michigan Stadium.
Game time 3:30p.m. on Big Ten Network
At stake: Paul Bunyan Trophy and a years’ worth of in-state bragging rights!
One of the most electrifying players in college football is Wolverine QB Denard Robinson. “Shoeless” as his teammate’s call him is lighting quick and has moves that buckle defenders. Every team that faces Robinson designs its defense to stop Robinson first and everyone else second. Thankfully the last two times these in-state rivals met, the Spartans defense has proven to be the
great equalizer to Robinson’s amazing talent.
The Spartan hold Robinson in check better than anyone else in the Big Ten. Statistics reveal as much, as he averages a mere 3.2 yards per carry and 170 yards/game passing vs MSU compared to 5.0 yards per carry and 192 yards/game passing vs the rest of the Big Ten. Most revealing is that Robinson’s ratio of TD’s to INT’s is nearly reversed; as he throws one TD for every two picks vs MSU but throws 1.75 TD’s for every 1 INT vs other Big Ten foes. While by no means dominating, the Spartans defense is the signature reason why Denard has yet to walk off with a win over the Green and White. However, given the way the MSU offense is playing of late, not even a typical Big Green D performance will stop Robinson from finally hoisting the Paul Bunyan trophy.
Speaking of QBs trying to shake a bad streak, first year Spartan QB Andrew Maxwell is looking to put together a complete game for the first time. Maxwell has yet to lead the Spartans offense with any level of consistency. His lack of down field playmaking has suffocated this offense, relegating it to hoping for either a big run by Le’Veon Bell or as was the case against Ohio State, a wide receiver (Keith Mumphrey) breaking eight tackles in a row for a lone touchdown. The Michigan defense is much improved from their “roll over and play dead” Rodriguez years so MSU won’t generate points simply from defensive breakdowns and miscues. The entire MSU offense from the O-line to the wide receivers will have to play their best game to date if MSU has any chance of winning on Saturday.
If MSU wins…Freshman sensation wide receiver Aaron Burbridge will have a monster game. That missing MSU air assault will come alive with a number of deep throws completed to Burbridge. Le’Veon Bell will then go to work on the softer Wolverine defense. On the defensive side MSU will have at least five QB sacks and produce three turnovers and get into the endzone once themselves.
If UofM wins…Denard Robinson will have a good day staying conservative with his passing game and not turning the ball over. Robinson will run for over 100 yards on his way to scoring two of the Wolverine’s three touchdowns. The maize and blue defense will pummel Maxwell and force the Spartans into two turnovers and hold them scoreless until the second half.
Prediction: There’s nothing Spartans hate more than losing to Michigan. Die hard green and white fans would rather go 1-10 and beat Michigan then go 11-1 and lose to Michigan. True enough, as much as this pains me to write this I don’t see the Spartans putting more than 13 points on the board tomorrow. The Wolverines will bring Mr. Bunyan back to his dungeon since his last stay in 2007.
Final Score: Wolverines: 25 Sparty:13
About the Author
Written by Andre' Wiegand
A life long Michigan State University Spartan fan! My grandfather played on the Spartan O-Line back in 1951 and my family has been Spartan fans since. 1999 M.S.U. graduate (JMC). Currently live in Grand Rapids, MI with my wife and two sons.