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As some of you know, I'm a writer and moderator for the MSU 247 site. Since last season I've been going on the 247 boards for all of MSU's opponents and offering to answer any and all questions you may have about the Spartan football team. Saturday's match-up got a little more juice with the wins by MSU and Nebraska. The Huskers are still favored and should be, but this should still prove to be a great game; Big 10's best offense against the conference's best defense.
I'll check back in throughout the day/week, so just drop your questions in this thread and I'll answer them in order. I hope all of you that make the trip enjoy your time in East Lansing; I know Nebraska fans were very gracious hosts to the Spartans last year.
Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.
How are you guys feeling about your O vs our D?
Biggest strength and biggest weakness for MSU? ...
Can't speak for the whole fanbase, but it gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. Your defense is perfectly situated to stop the Spartan offense; a Cover 2 shell with physical CBs, ability to drop into nickel or dime the second MSU goes 3-5 wide, very good pass-rush combined with active LBs.
If MSU is going to have success, it's going to be with misdirection; end arounds/reverses and play-action passes. Bell should have an o.k. game; something like his 21 carries for 77 yards against Wisconsin is what I'd expect to see. After that, it's going to be all about Dion Sims; he had a cast on his wrist against Nebraska last year, as the Huskers held MSU under 100 yards passing in the worst offensive output of the year. At 6'5 280 and plenty of move, he can really be that big target on 3rd and 6 that helps keep drives alive.
How is Le'Veon Bell holding up? Kid already has 247 carries on the season.
Weakness is the offensive line. The left tackle position has been horrible; Dan France, the starter, was injured prior to the UM game (supposedly a concussion) and RS FR Donovan Clark (6'3 302) started the UM game. Clark played well . . . and then was smoked by Wisconsin's DE (#11, I think Kelly?) several times. By the 3rd drive, a less than 100% France came back in . . . and was beaten by #11 again. Left tackle just cannot handle the speed rushes and MSU gave up 3 sacks to Wisconsin, the most yielded all year. Now, 2 OL starters are out for the season, in RT Fonoti and C Jackson, but they've been missing since September.
The receivers are coming on pretty well; that was a big problem earlier in the season. QB Andrew Maxwell has a very strong arm and is accurate enough, but like most pro-style guys, isn't at his best when he's under pressure. MSU's passing O is weird; it's horizontal for the beginning parts of games, relying a lot on YAC (of which there is little) and gets almost nothing. At one point against Wisconsin, I think MSU was averaging 2 yards/attempt. Then, whenever MSU gets behind, they throw downfield with much more success. Just a weird thing. Oh, and Maxwell has yet to complete less than 60% of his passes on the road . . . . or more than 58% of his passes at home. He has a 7:1 TD to INT ratio on the road and a 2:4 TD to INT ratio at home. Weird as well.
Biggest strength has to be the run defense. Held Wisconsin to 0.5 yards/carry; they were averaging 200 YPG on the ground before that. The linebackers are outstanding; Max Bullough is a 1st team All B1G candidate and true soph Taiwan Jones took the STAR LB spot (MSU's name ofr the WILL LB) away from senior captain Chris Norman, a good LB in his own right. The aggression level has turned up a notch in the last few weeks, with the Spartans recording 21 tackles for loss in the last 2 games combined. The pass-rush woke up against Wisconsin (5 sacks), including the hit Gholston put on Stave to knock him out of the game (completely clean, by the way). Gholston finished with 4 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle, all for loss.
I think Nebraska has the edge overall; the Spartan offense is just slightly ahead of Illinois for the worst in the conference . . . though it's better than Michigan's with Bellomy at the helm. MSU's D will probably be the best Nebraska plays all year, but I can see them wearing out like they did against the Huskers last year.
Couple of questions for you guys. It seems with Burkhead out, the option is a much much smaller part of the playbook. Your offense resembles Michigan's with Denard in a lot of ways; zone reads, play-actions off of draws, downfield shots with the passing game. Martinez is a better passer than Shoelace; his motion is never going to be orthodox, but it seems that he has the timing down a lot better. Nebraska seems to hit those crossing routes with much better consistency.
Also, I saw Neb. leads the conf. in sacks/game with 3. Where's the rush coming from?
He's still breathing . MSU fans have been calling for a 2nd RB for about a month now, but there just isn't anyone on the roster. Larry Caper has concussion concerns; you'd think the 5'11 222 pound senior would be the perfect compliment to Bell, giving MSU two hammers to pound defenses with. It was apparent early on that the coaches are keeping him as a 3rd down back/receiver only.
KR Nick Hill is a spark plug at 5'7 182, but has fumble concerns and decision issues. He dances in the backfield too much, and was held to -6 yards on 3 carries against Wisconsin. Though Bell isn't a threat to break a 55 yard TD, he's also not a threat to be tackled for loss repeatedly.
After Hill and Caper, you're down to Jeremy Langford, a 6'0 205 pounder who bounced from CB last year, to WR in the spring, back to RB and back to WR. There's also true FR Nick Tompkins, but he's listed at 5'9 185. Supposedly he has speed to burn, but just isn't ready for Big 10 football.
Eric Martin #46 is our premier pass rusher.
I think our D has grown up the pass two weeks. I like our chances here but how do you know with a bunch of 18-21 year olds.
If you cant say something nice, shut your damn mouth!! GBR
It's only a trap game if the Spartan OL plays the best game of the collective season. There isn't any speed in the run-game, and MSU's short passing game seems tailor-made to be nuked by Nebraska.
I think MSU's only realistic chance is to be +2 in TO margin or better.
You maybe right but after a big tv win I hope our boys stay hungry and not be satisfied with this win.
Love your campus by the way.
What are some must sees in East Lansing for those going to the game?
Eric Martin has 6 solo sacks, which is tied for first in the B1G. After that, our #1 LB and weakside DE each have 3. But what really makes the defensive effective in this regard is that everyone is taking advantage of getting into the backfield. The safeties each have a sack, the CB's have three themselves, so the blitzes are proving to be effective.
Which is possible.
North campus in general. It should be absolutely beautiful this weekend, with the leaves changing colors, etc. MSU's campus is one of the largest arboretums in the country in terms of different species of trees; most have a placard telling you about them. Beaumont Tower is definitely a must see; it's by the library.
Spartan Stadium . . . . well, I assume you'll see plenty of that . Seeing the giant statue of the Spartan is cool; it's in the West lobby. Inaccessible during gamedays, but worth stopping by on Sundays. Check with MSU first though; I'm not 100% sure on the rules.
With a 3:30 kick, you should have plenty of time to wander around campus. Michigan State is huge; it can take you a full hour or more to walk from Holmes Hall (far east side) to Brody (far west). North of the Red Cedar is beautiful, as I've said. As long as it's not raining (too far out to predict), things should be great.
Yea, I saw that Nebraska has coughed up a nation's worst 14 fumbles on the year. What gives?
Sore subject. Next question. Smile
This subject is a division of house.
This post was edited by Adams13 18 months ago
On one level, any option offense is going to have more fumbles than others. There's just too many handoffs, pitches, QB runs, contact, etc. Having said that, fumblitis has been a problem under Pelini since day one. They keep telling us it is a point of emphasis in the program, but we haven't seen many results.
Most blame it on TM but there are plenty of other culprits too. I get nervous every time Ameer Abdullah carries the ball. He's a lot of fun to watch play (I think you'd enjoy watching him run if he wasn't playing your team next weekend) because he's quick/shifty, hard to take down, and not afraid to run between the tackles in spite of his size. But he does fumble too much, just like everyone else in this offense.
Sorry, not trying to create any angst. Is it mostly Martinez? WR's putting the ball on the carpet? I think Nebraska had a game against Iowa State a few years ago where they committed 8 TOs. Is it a scheme issue?
It has been a very odd issue for some time now. That Iowa St. game was sickening. I think we had like 4 fumbles inside the 10.
Are you staying healthy for the full week this year Rocky?
Feed me to the wolves, and I will return leader of the pack. #FreeDA
It's like this...
This post has been edited 5 times, most recently by Zonie87 18 months ago
...It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.
W. C. Fields
So far, so good. Had food poisoning last Tuesday night that knocked me out until Thursday. Fortunately I had written most of the MSU- Wisconsin preview, so everything came out only a day late.
That stuff last year was insane. Word of advice: if they have to do a spinal tap, NEVER LOOK AT THE NEEDLE!
I don't do good with needles in the first place.
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