First Impressions for Michigan V Mississippi State.

Submitted by Bluemandew on December 6th, 2010 at 9:53 AM

My first impression is that I can’t wait for our offense to take on a sec defense and see how it stacks up. At first glance this should be an interesting match up. Since MSU’s D only gave up 17 to Auburn our offense can’t make the kind of mistakes with drops and turnovers we have been prone to in big games this year. If we cut down on those kind of mistakes  this should be a great game. I have heard that MSU’s O is suspect and I was very impressed with the way our D started out against OSU. IF our D can give that for four quarters we win this game easy.



December 6th, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

I thought I would come see what you guys were thinking about this game.  While State has not beaten anyone spectactular, neither has Michigan.  Their record against opoenents that they beat this year was 42-41, which is a little better than state's.  Both teams played some good teams this year and fell short.  State played Auburn and Arkansas very close and had the opportunity to win both in the final seconds.  Michigan never played any of the top teams down to the wire like we did.  The Auburn game was early in the season though.  I look for Michigan to load the box and try to force Relf to pass.  Ole Miss tried this in our last game and Relf torched them with short passing.  Then we started running the ball and they couldn't stop us.  Our offensive line is one of the best units in the country.  With Michigan's defensive struggles, I expect us to dominate up front offensively, protect the ball, and sustain some very long drives, keeping the ball out of Robinson's hands.  This has basically been our game plan every game.  To win this game, Michigan will have to take advantage every time they get the ball because they will only have it for a small percentage of the game.  I think you guys will need us to turn the ball over a time or two, which is something we don't do a lot of.  Our defense will be one of the better defenses that you guys have seen this year.  That has been our strongest part this season, but if you can get some protection, our secondary is a little shaky.  Robinson will have to have a decent game passing to give Michigan a chance.  Our new DC Manny Diaz will be prepared for Robinson.  The only thing I am really concerned with is how we will play after taking this much time off.  We played terrible at Alabama after our bye week and Mullen blamed it on the time off.  We'll see.  I have a lot of respect for Michigan.  I expect Michigan to pop off a couple big plays during the game.  It should be a fun match up but I feel good about us winning.  Mullen has won every game that he was supposed to this year.  Hopefully that continues. 

Clarence Beeks

December 6th, 2010 at 12:02 PM ^

Our offensive line is one of the best units in the country.

So is ours...

Our defense will be one of the better defenses that you guys have seen this year.

I actually don't agree with this at all.  I've seen enough of your game to know that your defense is relatively strong in the box, but weak in the secondary.  Your defense isn't as good as the defenses that we faced from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa or Michigan State (and arguably, Penn State), all of whom we were able to move the ball better than anyone else did all season, which means that your defense, at best, would be in the middle of the pack of defenses that we faced this year.  In my assessment, the more accurate statement is that our offense will be the best offense that you guys have seen this year at the time that the game was played (i.e. Auburn's offense is better, but it wasn't when you played them).  Popular (and pundit) opinion aside, the real emphasis in this game will not be whether our defense can stop your offense, but rather whether you defense can stop our offense, particularly early in the game.


December 6th, 2010 at 12:02 PM ^

Why are all SEC fans soo cocky?  If you look on any message board besides here all they say is that we havent faced a real SEC defense or played a team on the "SEC level"...  REALLY??  Yep the big ten is terrible and we dont play D.  I really hope the Big 10 quiets the SEC again this year.


December 6th, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

I try to be as objective as possible.  The SEC defenses supposedly are the strongest in the country (as a whole) and we had the second best defense in the SEC.  Yall played some good defenses this year.  They might have even been a little bigger or stronger, but the Big 10 defenses don't have the same kind of speed as the SEC, in my opinion. 

And sorry for not writing in perfect paragraphs earlier. I thought this was a message board.

Clarence Beeks

December 6th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

And sorry for not writing in perfect paragraphs earlier. I thought this was a message board.

It is, but the more you hang around here, you will come to realize that it's not a "typical" message board.  It's one that prides itself on articulate posting and self-policing of those who aren't articulate or considerate (not saying that you weren't either of those things).  Part of that, to a lot of posters here, is readability of posts.


December 6th, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

Just wondering how that speed helped out the SEC last year against the Big Ten, or in fact any year really. This Myth of SEC speed is crazy. You Don't think the big ten recruits in florida or georgia? If the SEC is fast, why did they let mike Hart ( possibly the slowest feature back in Wolverine history ) gash them for big plays. There is no difference in team speed between big ten and SEC, well maybe....I think the wolverine offense has more speed than anything in the SEC.

P.S. Mark Ingram is not a burner, and he sure as hell has ripped up the SEC. He's not even the fastet rb on his team.

Clarence Beeks

December 6th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

I think the "myth" of SEC speed is actually one of misconception, actually.  I don't think there is a difference at skill positions, but I do believe that, for whatever reason, non-skill position players from the south (who, are obviously, because they are from there, more likely to stay in the south) seem to be (in general, obviously) faster/quicker than their counterparts from the north.  No idea why, but that's how it seems to be and that's how I always understood the "SEC speed" arguments (i.e. it's not necessarily about skill positions).


December 6th, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

Mississippi State's resume looks pretty close to ours.  All of their losses came against teams in the top 15 and all of their wins came against teams that lost 5 or more games.

They really struggled to beat a 4-8 UAB team and a 6-6 Kentucky team.  They beat up on GOD awful teams like Memphis (1-11) and Alcorn State (5-6) much like we did with Bowling Green. 

Against a 4-8 Ole Miss team, they only won by 8 but that was a rivalry game so I guess you can throw out the records. 

If we had even a medicore defense, I'd pick us to win by 4 touchdowns.  But our defense has the ability to make anyone look like world beaters so this one is up in the air.


December 6th, 2010 at 6:54 PM ^

In State's defense, UAB's downfall was their defense, but in the process of losing 8 games this year they put up an average of 500 yards against their opponents this season. Also, this was homecoming and the first game after coming off a brutal Florida win and being ranked for the first time in 10 years. Things happen.

Against Memphis, our starters didn't play the 2nd half, and only about 40% of our playbook was utilized.

Alcorn State has the best SWAC QB I've seen since McNair.

On the comment I had earlier about Florida having the 2nd fastest person in the United States, Demps. Not Burton. But yes, Burton is one of the best dual threat QB's in the country, whether yall will admit it or not. He's a legitimate FB and could play QB in the pocket for anyone in the country. That is the definition of a dual threat QB, in my opinion.

And yes, this will be the best defensive front-7 you will be facing all year. 2 of our 3 starting linebackers are considered 2nd or 3rd round draft picks, as well as Pernell McPhee (DE). To add to this, MSU has the largest player in the SEC in James Carmen (NG), considered one of the better in the league at plugging the hole.

Our secondary, on the other hand, is another story. SS Charles Mitchell is an All-SEC hopeful and FS Nickoe Whitley has come up big this season, but our corner positions are suspect.

State likes to blitz the corners, and a lot of times, gets burnt. Our entire defensive strategy is based on the blitz.

So Michigan's best chance of beating Mississippi State is in the deep ball or screen passes. Not being a homer, but Mississippi State has been wonderful against some of the best rushing attacks in the country this year, especially dual threat QB's.

Clarence Beeks

December 6th, 2010 at 11:20 PM ^

And yes, this will be the best defensive front-7 you will be facing all year.

You're not serious.  Are you?

Not being a homer, but Mississippi State has been wonderful against some of the best rushing attacks in the country this year, especially dual threat QB's.

Not being a homer, either, but Michigan has also been wonderful against some of the best rush defenses in the country this year, so we'll see what happens.  My guess is that you've only looked at Michigan's won-loss record, and possibly some very cursory stats, but haven't seen any games (or very little, anyway).

Not to be a jerk, but this is the wrong board to come to and express uninformed opinions.  You're very likely to get more argument and data to prove that you're wrong and/or misinformed than you expected.  To be honest, I like that you're here offering insight into your program, but I've seen enough of your games this year to know that your defense isn't as good as you're making it out to be.

Michigan has it problems still this year, but you haven't faced a running game like Michigan brings to the table this year.  As good as your schedule was, don't overlook that Michigan played three top ten teams this year and put up162 (4.8/carry), 168 (4.7/carry) and 182 (4.4/carry), respectively.  That was done in losses where Michigan had to spend a lot of time passing in the second half.  I realize that you guys don't like to give teams out of the SEC much credit, but Michigan had a top 10 rushing attack (number 9 in total offense) and played one of the most difficult schedules in the country this year.  In other words, Denard Robinson didn't break the single season QB rushing record by playing creampuff defenses.  He also didn't do it by himself.  Michigan has a very good offensive line and receivers and running backs who can block.  By any objective analysis, Michigan will be one of the best two or three offenses you've played this year at the time that you've played them.  Only Arkansas and Alabama are arguably better.


December 7th, 2010 at 1:23 AM ^

Excuse me? Uninformed? And no, I haven't looked at your wins and losses, but one of my best friends is a Michigan fan, so I watched yall's day games before switching the channel so we could watch us play. You're best win is over an 8-4 Big Least champ.

I'm not an SEC homer. I could care less who wins their bowl games outside of Mississippi State. But you're calling our defense overrated? In every write-up in every publication has us "one of the nation's most underrated defenses", Herbstreit (Ohio State alum or not, give him his credit, he knows what he's talking about) said on ESPNradio:

"Michigan is in for a rude welcome in the Gator Bowl.....MSU is more phsyical on every level than Michigan even punter and kicker....put it like this if Cam Newton was on the MSU team they would be playing for the NC and would be the fav to win it....they have a much better D than Auburn and just as good a OL....Michigan better find some heart fast or this game will get ugly fast...that's how physical this MSU team is"

You're acting like you know what the hell you're talking about but Arkansas and Alabama don't have the best offenses in the SEC. Auburn and Kentucky do. If you think you have a better offense than either team, you're mistaken. You put up ~150 yards rushing against defensive lines that simply are not as good as ours, I'm sorry. Get over yourself and your team. Throw names out the door. It's not a "the SEC is better; we're the most storied program in the country" issue, it's a "Mississippi State is a better team this year; we got screwed on bowl selections" issue (Florida was picked 2 spots ahead of Mississippi State despite having a horrible season because of prestige points. We should be playing Florida State.)

Clarence Beeks

December 7th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

Do you feel better now that you've got your "we're under appreciated" rant out of the way?

A couple of things:

(1) I never called your defense overrated.  I said that it's not as good as you are making it out to be in your posts.

(2) I'm not sure that I would rely too much on Herbstreit's comments in that quote.  Saying that your defense is better than Auburn's defense isn't really saying all that much.  Really, that quote is more or less a shot at how average the rest of Auburn's team, aside from Cam Newton, really is.  I don't think many people would argue that if you took Cam Newton and put him on any one of about 30 or so teams that they would instantly become national championship contenders.  He's just that good.  I wouldn't take that comment as being anything special regarding your team.  It's also worth noting that Herbstreit didn't call any of either teams' games this season and hasn't seen either team play in person this season.  All he has seen is replays (most likely of plays and most unlikely entire games), so I'm not sure that he's really the most qualified person to make that comment.

(3) I never said that Michigan has a better offense than Auburn.  I said that Michigan has one of the best offenses of any team that you will play this year at the time that you played them.  The Auburn offense that you beat was not the Auburn offense that developed over the course of the season.  If you disagree, I suggest that you rewatch your game against Auburn and then watch pretty much any of Auburn's games from the second half of the season.

(4) Regarding Arkansas and Alabama.  Seriously, Kentucky is one of the SEC's best offenses?  You make the snide comment that "You're acting like you know what the hell you're talking about" and then you pull this out?  You've got to be kidding me.  You seriously think that Kentucky's offense is better than Alabama's?  I guess if you want to go by stats alone, OK, but having seen both of them play, and then looking a little deeper, specificaly at who both of them played, I can't believe that you're remotely serious.  I'm pretty content with sticking with Alabama and Arkansas being the best offenses you played this year (again, at the time that you played them) and not including Auburn in that mix.  But seriously, saying that Kentucky's offense is better than Michigan's?  That right there is funny.  I don't think many people will disagree with that, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

(5) "You put up ~150 yards rushing against defensive lines that simply are not as good as ours, I'm sorry."  Haha.  Good one.  Even if that were true, by limiting your comment to the defensive line it really shows how little you understand about what is necessary to stop the offense that Michigan runs.  The weakest part of your defense (i.e. your secondary) is the most important part to stopping Michigan's running game.  If you think having a great defensive line is enough to stop Michigan's running game then I would suggest that you are going to be in for a very long day on January 1st.


December 6th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

I am anxious to see what RR can do with a month to prepare for an opponent  His record in bowl games (insert dumbass Valenti commment here) is pretty impressive.  I think he's capable of working up a pretty good game plan when he has time to focus on just ONE game.

Defensively, meh.......can we move to a "winners take" set of rules?


December 6th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

i've watched about 5 quarters of them so far and I'm struck by how similar they are to us.  They run a liitle bit more plays from Malzahn's playbook which is infecting all of the SEC but it is pretty much a qb iso running spread when relf is in the game. 

Relf is a bit more like devin gardner than denard robinson.  has good touch on seam routes, but not the strongest arm.  The o-line is on the leaner side of things.  They like to run the sweep out of the split back shotgun set.  And they can execute the 'wheel of doom' which sucks for us.  Also pretty good on inside screens to the RB. 

Haven't been watching their D much yet but they seem more competant than us (of course, that's not setting the bar very high). 

tl;dr: Miss St. is basically Michigan with a slightly bigger/slower QB and a defense that isn't all freshmen.


December 6th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

I don't really know what to expect here, but I'd rather play this team than Tennessee.  A win over a quality 8-4 team would be more meaningful than one over a 6-6 team.  It's a chance for Denard to make a statement against a D that reputedly can shut down spread attacks.


December 6th, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

Here's my first impression -- we will move the ball all day long between the 20s and have open plays.  That's what we have done in almost every game this year.  The only question is whether we will take advantage of our opportunities.  The game will come down to whether we drop passes, miss field goals, turn the ball over, commit drive killing penalties, and fail to convert 4th downs.  This game is ours to take, but it's a big question as to whether we'll take it.   


December 6th, 2010 at 5:46 PM ^

Denard will be 100% rested and healthy. I think we will see some long runs from him. The defense should be better with the 15 practices.


December 7th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

SEC teams like to talk about their superior athleticism but it's almost always overstated, (except for the defensive line, where they often have a speed advantage).  What SEC fans never like to talk about is that their teams lack discipline.  Whenever I watch an SEC game I never fail to see at least one mind numbingly stupid play that has a direct impact on the outcome of the game.

I remember hearing all about how that awesome top ten Auburn team was going to run all over Wisconsin in 2006 and how Arkansas' McFadden and Felix Jones were too fast for the Badgers in 2007.  Hardly. We were too quick for Auburn all game and, symbolically, our injured cornerback ran down McFadden from behind. What really jumped out at me was the tremendous disparity in football savvy, which you could almost sense oozing out of the television screen, especially against Arkansas. I mean this in the most polite way possible and my hat is off as I type it: in general, the SEC plays stupid. They certainly have had great teams with great players but from top to bottom they play an unpolished, undisciplined loosey-goosey brand of football.     

Sorry to internalize the debate but my point applies here. The alleged superiority of the SEC in athleticism is almost always overrated, but the less talked about disparity in football IQ is not.  I know MSU's coach is a hot commodity right now and that Michigan has been something of a mistake prone team but I expect to see Michigan surprise MSU with its feet and hands and control the game with its head.