Michigan State - Michigan … A rivalry game that takes on a new twist in 2015 as Jim Harbaugh and Mark Dantonio face off for the first time in this storied rivalry.
Harbaugh vs. Dantonio brings two of the more successful football coaches of the past several years together for the first time in a big time college game. While Harbaugh may have been away from the rivalry since 1986, he fully understands its importance. He also understands recent years have seen Dantonio and the Spartans become the better team.
How will this game play out Saturday afternoon in Michigan Stadium? We break it down.
We start with the head coaches and staffs. Both are proven winners with similar styles of building teams that are hard nosed and old school using power running games and defense. The Spartans have a staff with the majority of their coaches having been part of this rivalry since the 2007 season and that will give the Spartans a slight advantage if this game is tight at the end as they’ve worked together under stressful conditions.
SPARTANS ON OFFENSE
When the Spartans have the ball they must not be as conservative as they’ve been so far this season. While they must run the ball, they must also push the Michigan defense with their passing game letting Connor Cook show why many feel he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the college game. If the Spartans have Jack Conklin and Kodi Kieler back, the loss of Jack Allen will not hurt as much. But without one or both and the Michigan State offensive line becomes a group patched together and could prove to be too much for a Michigan defense that looks like they've found their way.
SPARTANS ON DEFENSE
The Wolverines look like they've got a solid running game but have yet to really set the world on fire throwing the ball. The Spartans secondary is the weakest link and should have all Spartan fans scared. The Spartans front seven has the talent to be great but must play better than they've done so far. This is the game to do it and we would not be surprised they bring the best game of the season against the Wolverines.
Since the opening game of the season we've seen issues with special teams. Not only have their been issues in the kickoff team, but also in the punt game and with Michael Geiger hitting field goals. The Spartans don't have to be perfect, but they must be improved of it will cost them.
As I said in our Scout Battleground video, I have the Spartans winning a close game. WATCH HERE
|Matchup Preview | October 17, 2015|
|#7 Michigan State Spartans
(6-0, 2-0 Away)
|#12 Michigan Wolverines
(5-1, 4-0 Home)