Before this season started, I would have said the Michigan-Michigan State football game would have been a blowout, and not one in the Wolverines’ favor. As I sit here in mid-October, it makes me SO FREAKING HAPPY that this rivalry game will be against two of the better teams in the nation.
The Wolverines, who have clawed (get it? “Clawed?” Because they’re wolverines?) their way to No. 12, and the Spartans, who have (like their namesakes) fought some tough battles, have dropped to No. 7.
This matchup should produce some great football. MSU shines brightest on offense, while Michigan shines brightest on defense.
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Some facts to note are that the Spartans have given up 21 or more points in five of their six games this season, but have also scored at least 24 points in all six games. MSU has also only won one game by more than two scores (14 points). Michigan has been shutting out recent opponents while putting up 28 or more points in the past five games.
The point differential is on Michigan’s side by far. That being said, the Spartans are undefeated (albeit against weaker teams), despite some close calls, while the Wolverines are 5-1.
Looking at quarterbacks, Jake Rudock is no Connor Cook, which gives MSU the edge offensively. Rudock’s average quarterback (passing) rating this season is 120.4, and he has thrown 6 interceptions compared to 5 touchdowns. Cook, on the other hand, has an average quarterback (passing) rating of 151 and has thrown 2 interceptions, 12 touchdowns.
Luckily for Wolverine fans, Rudock is improving every game. His completion percentage was a whopping 73.9% against Northwestern, and his QB (passing) rating was a season-high 139.3. He did not throw a touchdown, but he also did not throw an interception for only the second time this year.
On the other side of the ball, the MSU defense is no Michigan defense. Coming off of their third-straight defensive shutout, the Wolverines are used to keeping opponents out of the redzone. Connor Cook and the MSU offense will be their biggest test, but they’re facing the Wolverines at a time when no one wants to.
It looks like we may have a low-scoring affair on our hands, but in a rivalry game, anything can happen.