An undefeated Michigan squad? Four straight MSU losses? You can't be serious.... Who thought we would be here?
Michigan, the winner of a few tight contests in recent weeks, looks to boost its impressive win streak to five with a victory in Sparty-land. Tate Forcier has engineered some late game heroics to keep Michigan's season alive.
What was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Michigan has turned into an excellent surprise.
For Michigan State, a mediocre season has turned sour. When they lost to in-state Central Michigan, they may as well have flushed their season down the toilet. Since then, they have lost to Notre Dame and Wisconsin in back-to-back weeks.
It seems every year, a Michigan State victory over the Big Blue will make their season.
Although this season is no different, the (1-3) Michigan State squad that you see on paper is still quite formidable. Combine their losses, and they have lost three games by a total of 15 points.
That's not too bad, but a few stupid penalties (against Central Michigan) and blowing a halftime advantage to Notre Dame have combined to make this season into a long, long struggle.
Michigan should have minimal problems winning this game. One of the larger issues that they face comes on the defensive side of the ball, where they face a loaded passing attack led by Kirk Cousins. The redshirt sophomore has completed 66 percent of his passes this season and has a high QB rating (147.6). He averages over 210 yards a game passing.
Michigan must find a way to slow him down and take him out of his rhythm. Their pass defense has been faulty this year, giving up over 240 yards a game.
Those numbers should change a little bit with the open tryouts at cornerback this week in Michigan's practices.
Look for Michigan to give Brandon Minor a steady diet of rushes in the game, but do not forget about Forcier. If healthy, Forcier can lead the Wolverines' passing attack down the field, but he also has the uncanny ability to take off and run (and score!) at any moment.
X-Factors: Michigan State just does not have the ability to run the ball. They average about 117 yards per game on the ground. Someone should tell the Spartans that Michigan doesn't give up many rushing yards. Look for Michigan to stuff any runs that MSU tries against them. This game will be determined on Michigan State's passing game.
Predictions: Minor has 20 rushes for 150 yards. Forcier completes 60 percent of his passes for 250 yards and another 50 yards rushing.
Final score: Michigan 34, Michigan State 21
Forget your yelling and screaming, MSU fans. Leave the face paint and "Go Green, Go White" chants at home—this one will be over early.