Some interesting MSU stats to consider for this week

Submitted by Salinger on October 15th, 2018 at 1:32 PM

I was looking at MSU's compiled stats in preparation for this week's upcoming game and wanted to point out some of the tidbits I've seen so far:

1. 73% (82) of the 113 First Down's given up by MSU are through the air. Only 16% (19) are on the ground.

2. MSU has given up ~1800 of passing offense this year compared to only 374 on the ground.

3. Their defense has 9 INTs on the year.

4. Lewerke's TD to INT ratio is 8/7.

5. 22% of MSUs passing offense goes through Felton Davis. No other single player accounts for more than 14%.

6. MSU is averaging 10 yds less per punt since Hartbarger went out.

Some thoughts:

I expect MSU to continue selling out to kill the rush offense while remaining porous against the pass.

If we can cancel Felton Davis, this will be a very tough offensive day for MSU considering how bad they are at rushing the ball.

For the first time in a while, it feels like Michigan's special teams are at an advantage against MSU who typically has very good kicking specialists (though Matt Coughlin remains a very good FG kicker). Okay...maybe this is a push.

Michigan a -7.5 favorite to open the week.


Go Blue. Beat State.



Harbaugh's Lef…

October 15th, 2018 at 1:38 PM ^

I think they will sell out to stop the run but with as well as Michigan ran the QB option this past week, that becomes a little harder as there are more ways to move the ball while on offense.


October 15th, 2018 at 1:42 PM ^

Yep.  Higdon and Evans will have a tough day or at least a tough first half.  It's incumbent upon Shea to shread MSUs secondary.  The chances will be there, he has to deliver the ball and not throw picks.  If we're efficient in the passing game, MSU will have to drop more guys into the secondary and that's when the run game can take off.

This game is here for us to win, we just have to not play like assholes a la Penn State.

I Like Burgers

October 15th, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

On top of this, the idea that Shea is going to need to run to draw a defender to free things up in both the run and pass games would normally terrify me against MSU.  Cause if the starting QB goes down, its DOOM.

But, this is the first time since, since...well...I can't even remember...that Michigan has a solid backup QB.

I mean, seriously...when was the last time there was a backup that didn't terrify you?  Brady/Henson?  Henne/Mallett?  The trek through the QB desert has been long, friends.


October 15th, 2018 at 1:38 PM ^

Right, on paper we're clearly the better team.  Now it's just on the coaching staff and players to execute like it.  Close games notwithstanding, I'd love to see Michigan just go into East Lansing like OSU did last season and drop 48 points on their overmatched asses.  Put your foot on the gas and don't take it off until the final gun sounds.



October 15th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Penn State rushed for 205 on them... wonder how much of that stat is good MSU defense and how much is bad opponent's rushing attack. 

Example: Northwestern rushed for 8 yards against MSU (but won).  Sounds good.  But Northwestern rushed for 28 against us, 32 against Nebraska, 86 against Akron... one might just be inclined to say Northwestern is a terrible rushing team.


October 15th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

PSU had two carries for 126 yards.  Their other 30 went for 79.  They were not consistent at moving the ball, either on the ground or through the air (only 14 first downs).  

I don't think we want to follow PSU's gameplan.  PSU seemed obsessed with keeping a perfect 50-50 run/pass ratio (32 runs, 32 pass attempts) and a large proportion of their passes were short throws.  They averaged just 6 yards per pass.  If they wanted to establish the run to keep MSU honest, they didn't build on it by challenging their safeties downfield.  I don't understand what they were thinking.  

In contrast, ASU had 48 passes to 29 rushes, Northwestern had 47 passes to 20 rushes, and Utah State had 44 passes to 25 rushes, and all went deep quite often.  I think we're going to want to get Shea a lot of work this week.

Sione For Prez

October 15th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

Penn state ran for 205 on them but Sanders had a long of 78 and a 48 yard TD. so two rushes for 126 counted for more than half of their total yardage. The rest of the day went 30 for 79. MSU only had one sack as well so those are fairly true numbers. 

Obviously the two big runs count but it's not like they were setting themselves up with 2nd and 3rd and manageable with their run game.


October 15th, 2018 at 1:41 PM ^

I do love me some good stats.  These typically get thrown by the wayside when it comes to this game, but it seems like the screens, slants and a long ball here or there will be available.  The RPO's could also provide some big gains...excited to see what Shea can do against this D.


October 15th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

I wonder who will be back from injuries in their WR core (Stewart, Nailor, and White), their OL (Beedle, Jarvis) and their CB Josiah Scott, who hasn't played yet.

Part of me wonders if their passing defense numbers are worse than they should be because teams abandon the run on them because of well they have been on that front.

On our end, our big remaining injuries are black and gary, assuming that the people who were banged up against Wisconsin will be back.


October 16th, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

Oline:  We’ll likely be down 2, maybe 3, on the O line and will have our 5th or 6th line up this season out there.

O Weapons. LJ is more than likely out. 3 of our 4 top WR/Athletes are out.   That includes our returner. Chambers who is one our betters recievers has a club on his hand but should play some.

Our punter, who was looing like sunday quality, is out for the year   

The O is pretty much a skeleton crew  held together with duct tape  

On D our top CB is out and that has one hell of a negative impact  




I Like Burgers

October 15th, 2018 at 4:11 PM ^

Don't worry.  MSU will unveil their new "stadium air circulation" fans they've been working on.  Don't worry, they'll apologize for it after the game.

"Well, you see, our graduate students have been working diligently on this -- diligently -- for 18 months.  18 months of hard work.  And we thought, what better showcase of their hard work than the Michigan game.  Now, did the system malfunction only during our drives?  Yes.  Did the fans blow the wind and stadium debris much harder than anticipated during Michigan's drives?  Yes.  Its unfortunate that Michigan struggled in the passing game as a result of this.  The graduate students, who again, worked very hard on this, will have things straightened out for next weekend's game against Purdue.  They are truly heartbroken."


October 15th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

As an intangible, watching MSU pull off that win last week against Penn State felt very much like the kind of MikeD witchcraft that sets his team up to overperform against Michigan. Dantonio and company sell their souls to beat Michigan and I expect nothing less from them this time around (the selling of said soul, not necessarily an MSU win).

Everyone knows that stats get thrown out the door in this matchup anyway. 

I really hope the momentum Michigan has been building can see them bring the hurt to East Lansing this time around. I so want to drink a flagon full of Sparty tears on Saturday.


October 15th, 2018 at 1:50 PM ^

Yes, we will have to beat them through the air.

Key match-up is calm Patterson vs panic Patterson.

MSU likes to aggressively go for pick 6 plays. Throws need to over target, unreachable by the defender.

yossarians tree

October 15th, 2018 at 1:50 PM ^

I hope Zordich really puts the challenge down on Long and Hill to blanket Felton Davis because he is by far their most dangerous weapon. And contain Lewerke. Him scrambling on broken plays was by far their best play last year.


October 15th, 2018 at 3:05 PM ^

I don't know the reason, but McSorley seems to favor throwing to Hamler (slot) and the TE to the extreme.  PSU was really touting their returning receiving crew coming in to the year, but they either can't get the job done or McSorley doesn't trust them.  I saw some repeated calls for the highly-rated true frosh they brought in to see some more time when scanning the PSU boards.


October 15th, 2018 at 2:03 PM ^

100% agree. That outcome is bonkers. I was at a wedding so unable to watch the MSU game (I saved my phone data for watching Michigan v Wisconsin) and am wondering what cacophony of blunders Franklin unleashed to reach that outcome.

On the podcast they mentioned how the stats showed that the game should have been a landslide victory for Penn State. James Franklin = idiot.


October 15th, 2018 at 2:31 PM ^

Here is a true stat.  Whichever team scores more points in a football game wins the football game.  That team will be Michigan this weekend.

1-Let them sell out to stop the run.  This will open up a huge screen play/zone read play in the early part of the game.  

2-Let Shea Bomb one early to Collins 50/50 ball.  See what happens and push the linebackers back off the line early with the threat.

3-Please no cute tricky plays like putting a backup QB in and motioning him, or a motion sweep with Thomas, or a QB draw with your 3rd or 4th? string QB.  These have proven to be drive stoppers.  If you are moving the ball effectively please just keep doing what you are doing.

4-On Defense.  MSU like last year will try to take advantage of our speed with trick plays, screens, and QB Zone read.  Their QB has not run a lot this year but he will this game if we leave it open, stay in your gaps and contain.


Go Blue!




October 15th, 2018 at 5:16 PM ^

You are right. We will need to pass to set up the run, and even our runs will need to be creative. Here’s my concerns, our passing routes at time take too long to develop or either that our receivers do not get separation...even vs Wisconsin it seemed like for awhile we struggled to get open....this concerns me....I hope that doesn’t resort to us trying to run Evans and Higdon up the gut repeatedly. Defensively I worry about PI on their jump balls. Bottom line is we need to be up by 14 plus heading into the 4th....


October 15th, 2018 at 6:21 PM ^

Yep, Sparty is going to try to play a low scoring game. They will play pressure D, try to shut down the run, pressure Patterson and play zone defense against our Wideouts. If we come out and punch them in the mouth and score TD's and get a lead, they wont know what to do and will probably make turnovers trying to score against us. 


October 15th, 2018 at 9:02 PM ^

McSorley's completion percentage this year is only 54.1%, down from 66% last year when it seemed like every other completion was an arm punt to Gesicki. Barkley was also big in PSU's passing game. McSorley has been much more effective running the football than passing it this year.