What does Michigan Have to do to Beat State?

Former U-M Asssistant Recruiting Coordinator Mark Ouimet had it 'pegged' regarding what Michigan had to do to beat Purdue and Iowa. This time he fills yours truly in on the secrets to downing the Spartans.

Mark, first on defense: what does Michigan have to do to stop MSU?

"Michigan State is a second half team -- they always fall behind and come back in the second half. So it is important for Michigan to get the lead. And when we get lead, we have to put them away."

"State will come in trying to pass. That's their strength, and Michigan's weakness. The best way for MSU to get first downs is passing; they have 85 passing first downs. They have the best wide receiver in the country of course (Charles Rogers). Rogers is key - MSU will get him and flanker BJ Lovett into the game as much as possible. Michigan's corners have to have big days ... Michigan will try to get Marlin Jackson on Rogers as much as possible. And Charles Drake will have to step up with Marlin."

"We are going to see two Michigan State quarterbacks, Dowdell and Aaron Alexander. Dowdell had 47 yards rushing last week, so when he feels pressure has the ability to scrabble. It is key that our safeties come up and tackle him. Drake and .... Jon Shaw and Ernest Shazor. Our safeties will have to come up and tackle."

"Michigan has to get to the quarterback ... sacks are key. MSU has given up a lot of sacks -- they've given up 23 sacks, and we've got 27. If we can pressure Dowdell and sack him, we'll be okay. Shontee Orr and Larry Stevens have to get to the quarterback ... Rumishek will not be playing."

"MSU has an okay offensive line, not a great line. Dewan Moss/David Richard -- they average 117 yards a game rushing between their backs."

"State averages 377 yards a game, we give up 365 ... it is important that we keep them under 300. Michigan will get that done -- I think we'll see different kinds of blitzing schemes, pressure on the quarterback, bringing the safety up ... lots of nickle. Michigan will try to force them into mistakes. Michigan still has the defensive talent ... Shazor will play, Michigan still has their cornerbacks, and we are deep on the defensive line. I believe you'll see a good defensive game by Michigan."

Offensively -- what does Michigan have to do?

Michigan definitely needs to score some points. MSU gives up points in the first half, and Michigan scores in the first half.

MSU is not a great team defensively. They are okay defensively, but not close to what Iowa had. They have given up a lot of yards. They've given up over 100 yards rushing in every game but one, and over 300 (that's rushing yardage!) twice, over 250 a 3rd. Michigan should have 150+ yards rushing. Michigan should pound them -- posess the ball. Perry needs 100 yards. He needs to be effective. We'll rush for over 150 yards, and win the time of possession.

We have given up under two sacks a game, and we should be able to handle their defensive line. And I'm assuming Adam Stenavich is not playing. State's linebackers and safeties are strength of their defense, not their defensive line.


Michigan State is highly penalized -- they have 64 penalites in eight games.

I'm sure Finley will kick field goals.

Bottom Line -- Predictions

Michigan will bounce back ... a kid doesn't come to Michigan and not compete. Michigan will be fired up -- they lost to State last year in a game they shouldn't have lost. We are playing for the state, so it's always said you can throw out record books. But MSU is an average team this year, and Michigan should win.

Michigan is playing at home against a rookie quarterback -- it's only Dowdell's second career start, so he will make mistakes. Michigan will force him into mistakes -- disguise coverages, make him make quick decisions.

I think Michigan will score first, we'll win time of position, we'll win the battle of field position. Michigan WILL establish the running attack. That will be a Michigan focus and they will do it.

Against the rush: Michigan will keep them under 100 yards rushing.

Defending the pass: Michigan will get that done -- Coach Carr will implement schemes to get pressure on the quarterback. Michigan will keep then under 300 yards of offense altogether.

The Score: 31 - 20. Michigan will come back and show people why they are Michigan.

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