Football Hayes & Cannon

Three Things To Watch For From The Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State Ohio State Buckeyes 2015

Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie, on Ohio State…”You know you’re playing the best, and that’s how it’s been the past few years…You’ve seen Ohio State be successful year in, year out. They’ve got a great program down there. It’s another challenge for us….You want to be the best, you want to be a champion? You gotta beat those guys.”

The seasons have passed by, but the memories are still vivid to me.  1998.  2013.  2015.  All seasons when Ohio State was seemingly superior to Michigan State, but somehow, someway, the Spartans were able to ruin Ohio State’s season.

Even though this year seems different, with a tremendously talented and varied Ohio State offense…Even with a vastly improved Ohio State defense…I have my concerns.  The above article cites how Mark Dantonio uses Ohio State as the benchmark by which he compares Michigan State.

In an interview with The Sporting News, Mark Dantonio stated, “You’ve got to be able to stop the run. In ’15 we did. In ’17 we did not. Then you have to limit their explosive plays. Then, you have to come up with some turnovers and be opportunistic on offense and very good on special teams.” With those objectives listed, below are three areas I will be focusing upon as Ohio State takes on Michigan State for a national television audience on ABC at 7:30pm EST, under the lights in Ohio Stadium.

1. Michigan State’s Run Defense vs. Ohio State’s Rushing Offense – With a traditional 4-3 defensive alignment, look for Michigan State defensive coordinator Mike Tressel to crowd the line of scrimmage, trying to negate J.K. Dobbins and the running game.  The Spartans are stifling to their opponents’ running game, limiting them to around 56 yards a game.  I said the other night on The Silver Bullets Podcast with Michael Citro (@Mike36fan) that J.K. Dobbins may need an ice bath after this one, as Michigan State may be gang-tackling him throughout the game.

2.  Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes vs. Ohio State’s Offensive Line – While Ohio State’s Chase Young has been receiving ample praise for his play this season, and rightfully so, Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes is one of the best defensive ends in The B1G.  Michigan State has been able to sack opposing quarterbacks about 3 times per game this season.  Will Michigan State move Willekes around, to try and get the best favorable matchup in obvious passing situations?

3.  Michigan State’s Xavier Henderson – A sophomore cornerback out of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Henderson is one of the 28 Ohioans on Michigan State’s roster that Mark Dantonio was able to lure up to East Lansing.  Granted, Henderson did not have a scholarship offer from Ohio State, and that is another psychological angle that Dantonio will be taking before the Spartans take the field against Ohio State.  Look for Mark Dantonio to move Henderson around in the secondary, as Henderson is probably the best player in the Michigan State secondary.

4 Responses

  1. Those msu teams in 2013&15 were much more talented than anything Dantonio has trotted out since then. Much harder to catch lightning in a bottle @ the lower level programs like they did with their 2013/14/15 rosters. That’s why every 10+ win seasons for teams like msu and wisconsin are just that more amazing with NR and mostly 2&3* players. Sprinkle in a few 4*’s and you have a recipe for success 5/10 years. Which is where tsun finds themselves,they just have admit to themselves that they are not an elite top 5 football program anymore.

    Vs msu we should be prison raping them by the end of the 3rd qtr. their offensive line is made up with a true freshman, a converted DT and the rest are backups. On they shouldn’t score against us unless we turn it over and give them a short field. Hoping Day can adjust if the they throw the old narduzzi D @ them. Their Bear front with qtrs coverage. I think it would be suicide with their current back 4 on defense but Dantonio May pull out all the stops including his trick plays he loves so much. Will be interesting how Dantonio schemes for a running QB that can actually throw receivers open and in stride.

    1. “Prison raping them”? We need more Bucks68, and fewer Eds.

  2. “The psychological angle” …

    is about 36 degrees wide. ;-{)}

    Your Man in Your Mirror… is your greatest ally and your most insidious and arrogant fool. And not a few times. ‘it works’ just like when our CB ‘blows his coverage’… and successfully and immediately ‘forgets that’… and PBUs THIS PLAY.

    And…as Chris Speilman has number-ized it… “football is 90% mental”.

    So why is 1998, 2015, 2017 …’relevant’?

    Be cause…. “everything is relevant”, to apply Coach Tressel’s quote.

    So anticipate, enjoy, encourage our guys TODAY and for Saturday, when we play MSU – a team of certain people who have EARNED respect…

    …and keep going onward as living examples that feelings about numbers and stars do NOT …

    …’tell the story’ of the man you are… any more than perceived hyperbolic ‘success’ or ‘failure’ do.

    [time to consult with your… Inner Man? Hopefully, he reminds often, about what we already know… about what/who is ‘greater than ME’.]

    After rinsing and refreshing your Inner Man, you will know once again it’s time for the willing and able …to ‘have the back’ of the men on your left and right….

    IF so, “as often as you gather to do it”… in a glimpse, in a moment, here and there, you can live… the abundant life… and receive the living promise… of what endures that is to come.

    So… will such a person ‘be rated’…by any man? Be ‘defeated’ by whosoever ‘tells him so’? Perhaps a person not boxed in by The Scoreboard… is free to exercise his freedom already given… come what may… which will.


    1. I’m alerting the authorities. Remember people, when you suspect a questionable character in this day and age…..say something!

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