Scouting Report and Prediction: Michigan State vs. Western Michigan Broncos
A look at this week’s opponent…
The Broncos come into the High Cathedral of the Spartan Nation ready for the first game of the P.J. Fleck era. They will be undermanned, but they will not quit or stop fighting. This will be a good test for four quarters for MSU because they won’t quit. WMU is changing identities under Fleck and that process will take time. Effort doesn’t take time and the Broncos will give it.
When MSU has the ball…
I doubt we see much, if any, of the new Spartan schemes. We may see small variances of it and I am sure we will, but the Spartans first three games give them a great opportunity to keep a lot under wraps until week four when they head to South Bend.
MSU will do what they do and use an almost +50 pounds per player advantage from their OL to the WMU DL and run the ball. The Broncos head coach said on my radio show that he would take his DBs over the MSU WRs and although he wasn’t being cocky at all, that is a challenge to the Spartans.
MSU needs to fix a running game that needs reps for the OL and the RB. MSU has to set the tone this season that they pass when they want to and not when they need to. Because of quality DBs, the Broncos will do what most teams are going to do this year and stack the box. They are going to force MSU to go to the air and beat them. IF, and that is a big IF, the Broncos can stop or slow the MSU rushing attack, we will get a quick early look at what should be the game plan for every MSU opponent in 2013 and whether or not the Spartans can answer the call.
When MSU is on defense…
Pain. CLICK HERE. The Spartans have the best defense in the nation and they will come out on a mission. There is blood in the water and the Spartan sharks want to eat. They are going to send pressure from the sides, the middles, the popcorn salesman, and rumor has it, Narduzzi is hiding in a trashcan by the tunnel to tackle Fleck when he gets off the bus.
This is going to be a relentless physical attack that dares WMU to stand in and fight for four quarters. MSU wants to intimidate, decimate, and decapitate. They crave the shutout and with backups in the game to play in the fourth quarter, I think WMU gets on the board with a TD after an early field goal.
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.
WMU will not quit. They are a group of players who feel slighted that MSU didn’t offer them. They are on a mission. They have pride. They will take risks that MSU does not have to. This isn’t a joke; if the MSU offense stinks they could lose this game. That is why MSU has to take care of their own business.
Last year tempers rose as the defense didn’t get the help they needed from the offense. Can the offense fix that? Will they come out overly concerned about holding things back for Notre Dame, or will they come out knowing they need to send a message and play like Indiana did last night?
This is a great chance for the MSU offense as all eyes are on it. They can’t fix the perception that they are the weak link tonight, BUT they can enhance it. This is the real deal now and it is on this stage, at this moment, that young men prove coaches faith in them or lack of it, correct or wrong.
Under the lights at the High Cathedral of the Spartan Nation, Spartan Stadium, the Spartans open the season 1-0.
Make it 31-10 Spartans.