By the Numbers: MSU "O" vs. U-M "D"

As with every other week this season, the matchup of the U-M "D" vs. the opponent's "O" is the key since the U-M offense can't be counted upon to get much (if at all) over 20 points. Will the U-M "D" step up tomorrow? In a word - yes.

MICHIGAN STATE OVERALL:

Michigan State (6-2, 3-1)

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1 @California L 38-31
2 Eastern Michigan W 42-10
3 Florida Atlantic W 17-0
4 Notre Dame W 23-7
5 @Indiana W 42-29
6 Iowa W 16-13
7 @Northwestern W 37-20
8 Ohio State L 45-7

MSU's Average score: 26.9 (6th in the league) to 20.2 (6th in the league).
Michigan is 10th in the league in scoring defense, giving up 27.9 per game.

MSU is 9th in the league the league in total offense, averaging 352.8 yards per game.
U-M is 8th in the league in total defense, giving up 363.9 yards per game.

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MSU RUSHING OFFENSE vs U-M RUSHING DEFENSE:

MSU Rushing: 161.0 yards per game (3.9 yards per carry), 7th in the B-10.
Michigan Rushing defense: 120.9 yards per game (3.3 yards per carry), 5th in the Big 10.

MSU running back Jovan Ringer is averaging 147.4 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry, tops in the league.

For Michigan, Obi Ezeh leads in tackles, averaging 9.3 per game, 4th best in the B-10. Brandon Harrison is 15th best in the conference with 6.7 per game.

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MSU PASSING OFFENSE vs U-M PASSING DEFENSE:

MSU Passing: 191.8 yards per game, 7th in the Big Ten. And MSU is 6th in the league in pass efficiency.
Michigan Passing defense: 10th in the league, giving up 243.0 yards per game. In pass efficiency defense, U-M is 8th in the conference.

Brian Hoyer is 6th in the league in passing, averaging 167.6 yards per game (49.5%).

MSU has no receivers in the top ten in the league.

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MISC.

MSU is 8th in the league in 3rd down conversions, 35.4%.
Michigan is 8th in the league in 6th down defense, allowing a 37.1% conversion rate.

MSU is 3rd in the league in Red Zone offense, scoring 88.2% of the time.
Michigan is 4th in the league in Red Zone defense, allowing a 74.1% scoring rate.

MSU is 4th the league in turnover margin, at +.62 per game.
U-M stays last in the league in turnover margin (and 111th in the country), at -1.14 per game.

MSU is 3rd in the league in sacks allowed, allowing .9 per game.
Michigan is 7th in the league in sacking the QB, with 2.0 per game.

Zoltan Mesko leads the league in punting, averaging 44.8 yards per punt.

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*What does this all say?*

As with every other week this season, the matchup of the U-M "D" vs. the opponent's "O" is the key since the U-M offense can't be counted upon to get much (if at all) over 20 points.

So - this week?

The MSU offense is so-so, and is a traditional pro-style offense, not a spread (whew). Ergo the U-M defense has to step up and hold the Spartans under 20 points -- and should be able to. The key will be to watch what MSU power RB Jovan Ringer does. OSU held him to 67 yards on 16 carries (4.2 yards per carry) last week -- but then, OSU leads the league in rushing defense. U-M's run defense is decent as well, although they game up big plays on the ground last week vs. PSU. So - making Ringer work for his yards, sans 20+ yard runs, will be the key to the game. The Spartan passing attack is so-so with QB Brian Hoyer battling injuries and a sub-.500 completion rate.

Will the U-M "D" step up tomorrow? In a word - yes.


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