Basically, if you’re a college football fan who lives in the Upper Midwest, and you don’t have a boner (figuratively, not literally of course) for this game then…..you are a terrorist. There is no question about it, you’re not with us, but with the terrorists.
As relevant a national game as any this weekend, as heated a rivalry as any, story-lines galore:
the “little brother has won the last three, the big brother looks to finally be ready to move out of his parents basement now after losing his job and gaining some weight the past few years. And only one loss combined with the two teams. Let’s get it on!
Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson is exciting and fun to watch. But he’s not a “dual threat quarterback.” That term is getting thrown around by the media way too liberally these days. Literally, it means a signal caller that can both pass and run effectively. But the way it’s applied, it really means any QB who’s a great runner.
Technically, both Denard and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez are “single threat” QBs because both are electric runners, but neither can actually pass the ball very well.
Denard has made some big plays on some deep routes, especially versus Northwestern and Notre Dame, but they were essentially just jump balls where his very big, very tall, very athletic receivers made some plays for him. Almost all his deep throws are just hail marys and his receivers go up and get it. He has no accuracy on the long ball.
it was thought Roy Roundtree would be the go-to guy for the Michigan Wolverines receiving corps. After all, he broke the school record for single game receiving yards (246) versus the Illini last year and fell just 65 yards shy of a 1,000 yard season.
But Roundtree only has 8 grabs for 127 yards on the season and it’s senior Junior Hemingway who’s been THE GUY. Hemingway’s 26.1 yards/catch average leads the Big Ten; second in all of college football. For Hemingway it’s been “the Old Man and the YAC” or “A Farewell to PBUs” or “For Whom the Blown Coverage tolls.”
Hemingway is the guy making most of the big plays for UM, which end up as something like an offensive version of a coverage sack.
After allowing 35.2 points per game in 2010, Michigan’s defense is allowing 12.5 points per game through six games in 2011, ranking 4th in the Big Ten and tied for 8th in the nation in scoring defense. U-M has forced 17 turnovers in 2011 (forced 19 in 2010), including multiple turnovers in all six games. The Wolverines have held opponents to 16 of 52 (30.8%) 3rd-down conversions over the last four games.
Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy’s NFL Draft stock is about as high as anyone in the Spartans, or even anyone in the Big Ten. He also has a tattoo that entails everything that makes college football such an awesome game. Take a closer look (it’s pictured up at the top and you can learn more about it here) and notice the tattoo’s homage to the rivalry with Michigan.
Even if the downed wolverine looking animal is wearing a Missouri helmet. I get it, it’s supposed to be wearing a helmet with a Michigan block M, but in really the helmet doesn’t have wings, it’s Mizzou.
Michigan State can no longer be accused of not holding up its end of the relevancy bargain struck by contentious rivals, while Michigan is holding a strong if not better hand going into the game for the third straight season.
Last season, both teams were 5-0 going into the game, and while MSU was ranked 17th and U-M was 18th.
In 2009, Michigan was 4-0 and ranked 22nd while Michigan State was 1-3 and unranked. Michigan State prevailed 26-20 in overtime. The Spartans only looked significantly better on paper in ’08 when co-captain Joel Foreman was a red-shirt freshman, and 6-2 MSU went on to handle 2-5 U-M, 35-21, at Michigan Stadium. Foreman was also in uniform the previous year, but didn’t play, when Michigan came back to win, 28-24.
Basically, this game is their Super Bowl
Prediction to be taken with an entire truckload of salt, not a grain of salt: MSU 27, UM 24 (2010-11 prediction record 28-13)
Michigan leads the all-time series with Michigan State 67-31-5. Before losing the last three, they beat MSU six straight from 2002-07. This will be the 59th meeting for the Paul Bunyan Trophy in the rivalry.
Last year, Michigan State out-scored the Wolverines 27-7 over the final 34-plus minutes to defeat them 34-17, in front of 113,065 at the Big House. This year, they have home field advantage, and I think that will be more than enough.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports