This is supposed to be the year where Michigan turns their program around. With the exception of 2012, the Spartans have done well in handling their in-state rival over the past half-decade. The Wolverines have not scored a touchdown against the Spartans since 2011. In 2012, Michigan was able to narrowly defeat the Spartans in Ann Arbor 12-10, surviving off four field goals.
Devin Gardner has been named the starter at quarterback for Michigan. However, depending on how Michigan’s season goes, it could be Shane Morris starting under center when the Wolverines get to Spartan Stadium.
De’Veon Smith will potentially carry the load in the rushing attack, though he might split carries with Derrick Green.
On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan is looking to improve on their 26.8 points allowed per game in 2013. They are led by senior linebacker Jake Ryan. Highly-touted recruit Jabrill Peppers will add some depth to Michigan’s secondary.
What the Spartans Need
Barring any injuries, Michigan State’s defense should be in top form by the time Oct. 25 rolls around. If the Spartans can contain Gardner and defend the rushing attack they should be in good shape.
The atmosphere at Spartan Stadium is sure to be electric, as the players and fans always get more fired up for the Michigan game than any other game. No matter how well the Spartans perform on defense, it will be impossible for the Wolverines to score negative points. That means the Michigan State offense will have to follow suit.
As always, if the Spartans can win the turnover battle, they have a great chance of winning this game. Actually, I cannot see Michigan State losing this game. No matter what each team’s record is heading in to this game, this will be a big game. Quarterback Connor Cook has proven that he can lead his team to victory in big games.
Spartan Redzone: Bradley: 24-10 MSU | Dan: 27-16 ?The Pact: Fino: ? | Faith 24-3 MSU | Austin ? | Yales ?Lions Den: Michael 23-9 MSU | Louis ? Way-Too-Early Predictions:Jacksonville State (Aug. 29)Oregon (Sept. 6)Eastern Michigan (Sept. 20)Wyoming (Sept. 27)Nebraska (Oct. 4)Purdue (Oct. 11)Indiana (Oct. 18)
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports