Therin lies the two things that have tripped up the Spartans football team; a lack of passion in certain situations and a lack of execution in others.
The passion shouldn't be a problem when the Maize-and-Blue set foot in Spartan territory today. One thing you can count on is that the Spartans will play hard, the question remains though, will they execute.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol are both expected to play but Nichol's time will likely be determined by how well he handles his first series. He was not sharp in MSU road debacle at Iowa last week.
Cousins has played consistently well (except for the goalline pick against Notre Dame) and deserves to stay in the ballgame unless injured.
MSU really needs improvement on the defensive side of the football.
The Spartans have flirted with the idea of inserting freshman Blake Treadwell into the defensive line rotation. Treadwell is a big, strong, physical player who could make an impact, but the staff really wants to redshirt him.
They also need a better effort from defensive end Trevor Anderson in getting after the Michigan quarterbacks. Anderson spoke publicly about Michigan's lack of respect for Michigan State and being "sickened" by it. What better way to take that respect than by putting up his best game of his senior career today?
The stakes are high in this game, its a program definer. The Spartans won over a lot of fans last year when they went into Ann Arbor and whipped the Wolverines soundly in the Big House. It'll look like just another fluke if they don't follow it up with their best effort of the season today.
MSU changed perceptions of their program last year causing recruits, prep coaches and fans to look at them, in some cases with a newfound respect and admiration. They don't want to lose it all today.