Remember all those long passes the Purdue QB threw? The ones where the receiver had one of our defensive backs beat by a couple steps? Thankfully, most of those were not on target or we might have given up 75 point to the Boilermakers. This week, we face a QB who won't miss those throws. We also will be fielding a team that has shown a lot of heart and fight. That is a good thing. They will need every bit of it.
At this point in the season the coaches know which players are all-in and which have checked out. Any able-bodied players (of which there are not many left) are likely to give Sparty everything they have. If this game goes like most others this season, it will not be enough, but it will be everything they have.
Are you ready for Nebraska to go "Full Stave" and pass it 50 times?
The Michigan St. defense resembles the Husker defense in statistical profile this season. A strong rush defense (#19 at 115 yards per game - only a few spots behind Nebraska at #13). The Spartans are allowing 3.5 yards per rush (Nebraska 3.7).
The Spartan secondary is not what we have seen the past few years and is below average. They are currently sitting at #81 allowing 241 yards per game and 12.4 per completion. (Nebraska 315.9 yards per game and 12.98 per completion).
Given the preferences of our coaches, the relative strength of the team (wideouts) and potential return of Tommy to the starting lineup, I expect this game plan to be right in our staff's wheelhouse - pass to set up the run with the run game being used only to keep the defense from flooding passing lanes.
Of course, I have been completely wrong in guessing the offensive approach all season (but I kept guessing we would need to run the dadgummed ball).
Can a battered and bruised team pull off the improbable upset?
This team has gone toe-to-toe with some good teams (BYU, Wiscy, NW) but also lost to some poor teams (Miami, Illinois, Purdue). Michigan State has pretty consistently (outside of one game) failed to stomp on inferior competition. Unfortunately for Nebraska, that game was their most recent one (Indiana) and Sparty is coming off a bye. However, Vegas only has MSU favored by 5 ½ points. Stranger things have happened, but there is no question the unlikely win would change the narrative of this season.
Will any new playmakers emerge at this point of the season?
It seems strange to to think we might not know who all our playmakers are; except this appears to be a lost season. With bowl practices seeming unlikely, the coaches may take a second look at some guys - especially younger ones, and give them some reps or put them in situations they might not have done otherwise. Maybe, just maybe, we will see something to carry us through the long, dark offseason.
What are your questions? Did I miss something? Tell me in the comments!