As the build up to the 3:30 PM kickoff on Saturday between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans continues throughout the week, so does breaking down every aspect between the two in-state rivals.
The Spartans and head football coach Mark Dantonio are still undefeated and remain ranked in the top ten, despite a bit of a slide over the last two weeks. Dantonio has his hands tied once again as far as injuries are concerned, with a lot of the notable names on both sides of the football still uncertain if they will be at full strength or even dress. They will also try and figure out a Wolverines defense that has not allowed a point in the last three games.
It is likely to be a back-and-forth bout between the two Big Ten rivals. If the Spartans want to keep the Paul Bunyan Trophy in East Lansing, a lot of things need to go in their favor.
[tps_title]1. ESTABLISH RUNNING GAME[/tps_title]
Through six games, Michigan State is averaging 173.3 yards per game on the ground. Normally that is more than enough to provide for a balanced offense and take pressure off the quarterback. The Wolverines, however, have the third best rush defense in the country, allowing just 65.8 yards per game.
MSU will have to rely heavily on L.J. Scott to carry the load on Saturday, after fellow freshman backfield mate Madre London suffered an ankle injury in last week’s game at Rutgers. Scott himself is not at 100% either, so Dantonio will need his third- and fourth-string backs to chip in some production, sophomore Gerald Holmes and redshirt junior Delton Williams, who made his season debut last Saturday coming off an off-field suspension that dated back to last spring.
The Spartans need to get the ground game going as soon as possible if they want any chance of winning. A one-dimensional offense could mean a long day for quarterback Connor Cook.