We’re just two weeks away from the latest chapter in the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy between Michigan and Michigan State. From a Wolverines’ perspective, it is the calm before the storm. With a bye this week, they have two weeks to prepare for the Spartans.
And come October 7, the two will be playing under the lights in the Big House.
Saturday Night Lights!
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) September 25, 2017
It’ll be just the fourth night game in the history of Michigan Stadium and it will be the first ever night game in the history of this great in-state rivalry.
The Week 6 showdown between the in-state conference rivals will be the earliest they are meeting up since 2010. The game being the fifth contest of the season for each respective team is also the earliest such occurrence since 2009.
We know that No. 8 Michigan will be entering the game with a clean 4-0 record on the season despite some struggles in games early on. The Wolverines have been priding themselves on shutting down the opposition in the second half and putting games on ice late.
So far in their four games this season, they have outscored their opponents 80-14 in the second half. Their latest late-game surge was against Purdue this past Saturday when they shut out the Boilermakers 21-0 in the latter 30 minutes en route to a 28-10 win on the road.
As for Michigan State, they will be looking to rebound from a miserable showing at home under the lights against another rival in Notre Dame. The Spartans are right back at it this weekend when they welcome in conference foe Iowa for their league opener of the 2017 season.
Like their rivals down the road in Ann Arbor, Sparty has been a defense-first team so far. They rank at or near the top in some notable categories in the Big Ten, including total defense (4th – 254.0 YPG) and pass defense (1st – 132.3 YPG). But it’ll be crucial for MSU to not overlook the Hawkeyes in advance of the showdown with Michigan.