This will be quick as I’m motoring north for hockey and will be enjoying this tilt from the AmericInn in beautiful Mankato, MN. Many thanks to McLin Moberg of our sister site The Only Colors for taking the time to answer our questions. Here we go:
1. When the Spartans have the ball, the resistable force takes on the movable object. Michigan State’s offense averages only 327 yards per game but the Husker defense gives up nearly 450. This Saturday, is it a breakout game for the Spartan O or do the Blackshirts finally look like they can slow someone down?
It all depends on who starts at quarterback for the Spartans. If a hurt Brian Lewerke takes the field they are in trouble, but if the MSU coaching staff sticks with Rocky Lombardi it’ll be a different story. Lombardi has shown the ability to throw the ball down field, scramble if need be, and move the sticks. He’s been successful in spurts and is the guy Michigan State needs to rely on from here on out. Even so, I have little to no confidence in the Spartan offense. In my opinion, it’s going to be a close game.
2. The Spartan defense looks like...well...a typical Spartan defense again, but the offense looks like the guys that Hawkeye and Trapper cracked jokes over at the MASH 4077th. Discuss the injuries on that side of the ball including LJ Scott’s decision to redshirt after battling ankle problems & how Michigan State intends to try and move the ball.
Michigan State has battled injuries all over the place on the offensive side of the ball. It goes from offensive lineman, wideouts, running backs, quarterbacks, etc. The big ones were on the O-line, Felton Davis III, LJ, Cody White, and Brian Lewerke. The names speak for themselves -- the guys I listed heavily contributed to Michigan State’s 10-win season in 2017.
The playbook seems to vary depending on who’s under center (which could be related to Lewerke’s injury). That being said, Mark Dantonio is going to try and run the ball after last week, when the Spartans became one dimensional. He believes his teams success is predicated on how well they can execute the ground game. Unfortunately, the staffs unwillingness to prepare a game plan centered around the players on the field has resulted in some tough losses (meaning things stay the same regardless of who’s out there). Bottom line, the offense needs work. The MSU defense is battling and making stops well into the fourth quarter before eventually getting tired. It’s time for someone on the opposite side of the ball to step up.
3. If Michigan and Michigan St. combined the best of their defenses into a two-deep for one team, could they win the CFP playoff with Rutgers offense?
No, I’d still pick Alabama in the National Championship game. In my mind, they are hands down the best team in college football and it isn’t close. The Rutgers offense is far from being able to make such claims. Nick Saban will continue to win rings until he doesn’t feel like it. The argument with Bama is they never play anyone, yet they go into Death Valley against LSU and win 29-0. Mix and match as many teams as you like, no one is taking them down.
4. Michigan State sits at 6-4 currently - do you feel like the record should be better, it could honestly be worse, or all things being equal, you’re sitting right where you belong? (We’re 3-7 and have been outscored by a grand total of 13 points. We think about things like that quite frequently this season).
Michigan State’s record should be better. You can’t use injuries as a crutch. Losing to Arizona State and Northwestern is inexcusable and frankly unacceptable. Mark Dantonio has built a fantastic program here in East Lansing - one that was in the dumps before he got here (the fanbase loves him for it). In other words, it’s no longer 2009, the fans have expectations for his teams and two out of the last three seasons have been remarkably underwhelming.
5. What in the blue hell was the deal with that Minnesota-Purdue game??? I know it has nothing to do with us, I’ve just been asking everyone.
It’s the risk you take playing in this conference. There’s upsets every weekend. A few weeks ago Purdue was flying sky-high after putting it to Ohio State and nearly dropping 50 points on the Buckeye defense. Since then they’ve lost to Michigan State and Minnesota. Northwestern clinched the Big Ten West. Last year, OSU gets punched in the mouth by Iowa. You never know what’s going to happen in the Big Ten. We don’t play schools like Rice and Citadel in November. It’s classic B1G football.
6. Prediction time - will the Spartans ruthlessly grind out a win against the best 3-7 team in the country (#sarcasm, last week we were the best 2-7 team in the country) or will the Husker offense pop enough big plays to make moms and dads smile on Senior Day in Lincoln?
I’ll reiterate what I wrote when we sent our picks in for The Only Colors. The Spartan defense will slow Nebraska down, it’s inevitable, but by how much? Can Michigan State rely on it’s offense to score early or even late to take the lead? No, they’ll leave their defense on the field for an extended period of time until the Huskers take advantage.
MSU 13 Nebraska 24