UM vs MSU: Who is the X-Factor?

Submitted by Wee-Bey Brice on November 1st, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Since I am sick and tired of seeing people pick Devin Gardner as the X-factor of the game because DUHHHHHHH!!! I decided to give it more thought...

My choice is none other than MATT WILE. This will be a good ol' fashioned field position game. We need him to boot them back behind their own 25 all game. With their below average offense we will be in great shape if he does that.

Which player do you guys see whose production will swing the game one way or the other (Besides DG)?



November 1st, 2013 at 6:14 PM ^

Nah - Michigan needs to go max protect and look deep early and often.  If they can put the secondary back on their heels early that may open up some running later - at a minimum, it should open up space for Gardner to scramble.

They need to absolutely concede that this isn't the game to start establishing POWER MANBALL PUSH PUSH PUSH from play one.

I don't necessarily disagree with your general premise about the OL, though - outcome could well depend on their cohesion in terms of protecting Gardner.


Everyone Murders

November 1st, 2013 at 4:46 PM ^

If they can't match up with Funchess, it could be a very fun day for the Wolverines.  DG would have a huge luxury if he can get away with throwing jump balls to Funchess.

On the MSU side, it's Connor Cook.  If he crumbles under the pressure, great for us.  If he doesn't, then we may end up in the field position battle the OP describes.

Wolverine 73

November 1st, 2013 at 4:51 PM ^

If Gardner plays his best, we win; if it's a Gardner turnover fest, we lose.  If Cook actually makes plays, they win; if he looks lost as he did earlier, they lose.  Now, if both play badly or both play well, it gets really interesting and turns into a close, low scoring game or close, high scoring game.  This will be interesting to watch, no idea how it will actually unfold.


November 1st, 2013 at 4:53 PM ^

My pick is Stribling. He finally gets the monkey off his back and pulls an INT in (or two). Not sure if we'll see that much of him though with probably less Nickel though.

One Inch Woody…

November 1st, 2013 at 4:55 PM ^

Ill tell you who's the x-factor. NOT Illinois, Purdue, or Indiana. Or even Iowa for that matter. Our defense is significantly better than all these teams and although they'll come ready to play, I don't believe they can generate enough offensive rhythm to continually best out defense. On the other hand, if they break open holes on the D-line, we will lose 100%. Simple as that.


November 1st, 2013 at 4:55 PM ^

It's Cook. If he doesn't show up it's going to be a long game for the Spartans. They may still win, but it gets significantly harder for them if he doesn't play well.


November 1st, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

I think the difference maker in this game is going to be Borges.  If the offense comes out with the same old run-first mentality we will lose.  However, if Gardner gets outside the pocket enough, and we throw a rediculous amount of deep bombs, Michigan and the running game will stand  a much better chance.


November 1st, 2013 at 5:28 PM ^

I was going to post the same name. His strategy will be the key to the game. If we get a stubborn PSU game plan, I'm in bed by 5pm. If he calls a good game, kudos for ND and IU, I'm in bed at 5am. Live and die with Al. Good God it was scary to type that sentence. Go blue


November 1st, 2013 at 5:48 PM ^

If first possesion, michigan comes out and runs up the middle for the first two downs, and Gardner throws an ugly ball under pressure on third down -- It's game over. I'm sure I'll get flamed for over-reacting, but Borges game plans seem to be set in stone once a game begins.


November 1st, 2013 at 5:00 PM ^

The O-Line is the definitive "elephant in the room".  Beyond that I agree wholeheartly with JMFR.  Oh, and receivers - no aligator arms.  There, we covered it with elephants and aligators.


November 1st, 2013 at 5:17 PM ^

But he was replaced by near-5 star Erik Magnuson.  So this isn't really that crazy.  It would be like if, in a year, Da'Shawn Hand was replaced by Malik McDowell.  It's even more like James Ross starting over Joe Bolden.  Magnuson and Kalis are the same age, and both were big time recruits.  One got the start initially, and the other has been getting is since.  This is not very crazy.  


November 1st, 2013 at 5:00 PM ^

If Gallon or Funchess gets double covered, we'll need another threat to make them pay.  If Dileo gets loose in the middle, that may help loosen things up on the edges and help the running game.  

I have a hunch we'll be in a lot of max protect to start, so that means the backs are probably staying in to block.  We start burning them, that should stop a lot of their blitzes and free our backs to do more than block or run for -3 yards.  

Section 1

November 1st, 2013 at 5:37 PM ^

Is he even going to play?!?

What is his injury status?  Had we had a game last Saturday, he wouldn't even have dressed, right?

I am worried about who is going to return punts in his absence.

And while some people suggest Matt Wile as the x-factor, we should note that Drew Dileo is Brendan Gibbons' favored holder since the two of them were Freshmen.

I'd like to have Dileo back in uniform; I don't know that it is going to happen.  Any news from anyone?


November 1st, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

You know how it is getting info out of Fort Schembechler.  But for Hoke to leave the door open to it Wednesday when asked, I have a feeling he's close to being ready.  

It was a toss up between him and Jake Butt.  

NOLA Wolverine

November 1st, 2013 at 6:10 PM ^

If MSU didn't double The Admiral's kid against ND after numerous completions/PI's up against Waynes (they didn't even make the move to have Dennard follow him around) then I don't think they'll ever want to do it.  Unless you would consider match up zones to be a double of sorts when running through the middle.


November 1st, 2013 at 5:05 PM ^

Picking up those A-gap blitzes is probably the difference between sexy PA passes and Gardner huge sacks of doom. If they can protect, Gallon and Funchess will find their way open


November 1st, 2013 at 5:05 PM ^

 a lot of brennen beyer on 1st downs and 2nd and longs. if michigan can hold up to msu's running game and put them into 2nd and 3rd and longs, i think goes a long way to shutting their O down. if it is 2nd and 3rd and short after 5 and 6 yard rushes, that opens the play action passing game and i think they can be adequate with that. so beyer being stout on the edge for the first plays of a series, giving way to Ryan for 3rd downs. heitzman too.

i think michigan will be able to score at most 2 tds and maybe a fg, so the difference between msu's o scoring 7 and 14 will be significant.


November 1st, 2013 at 5:08 PM ^

Beyond Devin Gardner, which I do agree would be a fairly obvious selection, I would agree with others in that we might be looking at the offensive line and their performance as influential in the outcome. It might seem strange, but it isn't necessarily because of the rushing game - when you're playing the #1 rush defense in the nation, you might be rushing somewhat sparingly or only once you've stretched the defense some. If we're going to do that at all, we should be passing first, and Devin needs some time to find Funchess, Gallon and Dileo and others out there. 


November 1st, 2013 at 5:10 PM ^

My pick is the officiating.  If Michigan want's to win, they need to draw penalties from MSU.  Use State's aggressiveness against them.  Pass intereference and personal fouls.  I hope the refs keep players on a tight leash tomorrow and don't just "let 'em play".  

Other than that, it ALL depends on how Gardner performs.  If he plays up to his full potential, we could win by a good amount.  Turnovers will hurt us tomorrow.  

Also, Borges needs to set up DG for sucess.  I hope we see a lot of  the Shotgun.  


November 1st, 2013 at 5:11 PM ^

Here's my reach:  It's Will Gholston.

If this team remembers what that clown did to Denard (and can anyone explain how the helmet twist didn't result in a multi-game suspension), if the older players can really make the young ones understand, then Michigan will play Michigan football.  If the team understands the nature of the dirty play before the first whistle, then we'll be fine.  If it takes them until mid-second quarter to see that State is just as dirty now as Gholston was then, well, then we're in trouble.  I don't think that will happen.

Prediction:  W 23-10
Devin throws one pick that results in a TD, but State's offense can only manage a FG with a QB who hasn't smelled a whiff of a pressure game.  State's played the 4 worst teams in the B1G and thinks they're better than they are.


November 1st, 2013 at 5:23 PM ^

Though Iowa does have a winning record.  Until I see Sparty shut down a good offense outside of the B1G, I will hold the the belief that they benefit from playing in a bad conference with gift wrapped schedules.  No OSU or PSU this year.

Our D struggles with something State doesn't have.  Mobile quarterbacks or spread offenses.  It doesn't take a lot of creativity to see how we win this.  Don't turn the ball over and win.

Section 1

November 1st, 2013 at 5:39 PM ^

And Marcus Rush is guilty of the personal foul that took Denard Robinson OUT of the trash tornado game in 2011.

I said at the time that Rush deserved a suspension, and not merely the personal foul.  I said that if Rush had been in the NFL, he'd have gotten a major fine.  I still stand by that.

I hope that our OL has watched that film about a hundred times.

YouTube has it (thank you to whoever posted it) and it is every bit as filthy as Gholston's helmet twist, although slightly less psychotic.