Scouting Report and Prediction: Michigan State vs. CMU
A look at this week’s opponent…
The CMU Chippewas play host to the Michigan State Spartans for an in-state tilt. The Spartans come in ranked #6 in the Spartan Nation poll and #11 by the Coaches and the AP. They will not play nice with CMU, whose entire community benefits from this historic event/game other than the football team’s record. Dantonio said of this game that, “The CMU game, it’s an historic event up there. Coach Enos knows us well, obviously, having been on our staff, and they know the traditions.”
Dantonio added about the experience, “What we get out of it is an opportunity to embrace the state of Michigan, Mt. Pleasant, bringing commerce to that area. So we get an opportunity to do something for the state of Michigan, which is what we’ve always tried to do here as people and as individuals since we’ve come.”
When MSU has the ball…
Look for a full frontal attack. The Spartans played a much better team last week and won. This week they will be in search of perfection. Ideally, you would play this game and bench your starters by the half. That is in an ideal world, and this is NOT an ideal world.
The Spartans have their eyes on a Rose Bowl. Last week they took a knee on the final drive that kept points off the board. They would do the same here, on the final drive.
Look for the Spartans to go to the air to work on their passing game, while giving CMU more than they want of LeVeon Bell.
Just like last week the Spartans will pass when they want to and not when they have to. That does not mean they will stop passing. It means that they will just do it when they want to.
The Spartans will not adjust to CMU, they will impose their will. That is no disrespect to the Chips; it is a statement of fact. Much tougher opponents rest ahead on the schedule for MSU.
Great teams when facing lesser opponents focus on their game more than their opponent. This will be the case with the Spartans tomorrow.
If the Spartans are going to reach their lofty goals for the season, this is the kind of game they must come in, dominate, work on issues, and go home. That’s it. I like CMU. They have some good players, but this is NOT their day.
When MSU is on defense…
The Spartans will do their thing. Just like the offense, it doesn’t matter when you are this good playing a team like Central. This is all about MSU. The Spartans will attack. They will come from the DB, the LB, zone blitz, and any other package mad scientist Pat Narduzzi can dream up. CMU doesn’t have the horses to play with the Spartans on D. Not even close.
Dantonio did say after reviewing the CMU offense on tape, “They ran the ball effectively. They have a great quarterback. Radcliff is a guy that’s
closing in on a lot of records up there, so he’s an experienced quarterback with two great tailbacks in Tipton and Garland, an established offensive line.”
There will be close to 35, 000 in the stadium. CMU AD Dave Heeke told me on my radio show last night they are expecting as many as 30,000 in the parking lots tailgating during the game. The crowd will be crazy, but at least 50% MSU.
The festivity of the event will be crazy, but nothing like last week at Spartan Stadium. This is all about CMU off the field and all about MSU on it.
This game is just what the Dr. ordered for the Spartans. Dantonio described the upside as, “If we’re going to play an away game, I’d rather play 60 miles up the road in state and make that our first away game of the season with the new quarterback at this point in time and experience that environment which probably I would imagine there would be a lot of Spartan fans up there as well. So I think that’s a good way to begin our road season so I thought that would be an advantage for us if you had to go on the road to go close.”
For QB Andrew Maxwell who is from just down the highway in Midland, this game is a homecoming of sorts. He said, “It’s going to be a cool experience.
I’m excited for it. Like you said, that’s 35 minutes from my house. I grew up going to games there. As you know and I’ve said before, my dad and I would go
there almost every weekend that they had a game.”
He added, “A lot of my good friends go to Central, so they’ll be in the student section, and that’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a cool atmosphere, and a lot of Michigan State fans will make the trip. I think that stadium will be about as full as it’s ever been, so it will be a cool experience for both teams. They’ll probably be cheering for me personally, but Central to win the game, I would imagine.”
Remember the rule of five. If MSU wins that, this game is over. For those who don’t remember it, it has to do with sacks and turnovers. If the Spartans have three sacks and give up two that means they are plus one. If they then get four turnovers and give up only one that means they are plus three. That would give them a plus four for the day. They want to get to a plus five ratio at least every game. The amazing act was that MSU had four turnovers last week and still won.
The rule of five is based on percentage and those long odds against MSU didn’t work last week.
Dantonio has kept in the mind of his Spartans that CMU has beat MSU before, twice in the George Perles era and of course once under him in 2009. He said about keeping his team aware and engaged that, “We’ll talk about it and present the facts and what happened that game and hopefully learn from some things. But it’s going to be a great environment up there, don’t kid yourself. It will be a live environment up there from everything I hear. So it should be exciting for our players to play away. There will be a lot of Spartans there as well accident but a lot of Central fans there as well. So it will be a great match‑up.”
I think that the MSU D will dominate, but late in the game CMU may be able to score still playing their first string while MSU has in the 3rd stringers.
This team has singular focus. They are ready and will not let a CMU spoil their season.
Make it MSU 48 and CMU 6.