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The 3-2-1 preview: 3 things we want to see, 2 key stats, 1 best bet vs. UM-Ann Arbor

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We’re nearly there, folks.

Michigan State v Michigan

Let’s cut the formalities.

Let’s just get into it.

3 Things We Want To See

Early scoring

In its two competitive games this season (Notre Dame and Northwestern), UM clamps down in the second half. MSU will have a hard time getting points on Saturday with the injuries and weather playing a big enough role – adding in a team that makes solid adjustments at the break will make that even harder.

Lewerke, Lewerke, Lewerke

Anyone else have a guess as to who I think a MSU win depends on?

I don’t think Lewerke has to be perfect in the passing game for MSU to win on Saturday, but he has to be damn close to do it. However, he’s crucial for more than the passing game. Can he orchestrate a flawless option game, whether it’s RPO or speed option? He’s been great at running the option this season, save for his pitch at Northwestern that was a fraction of a millimeter too forward.

Getting to Shea

Michigan’s offensive line and quarterback play is better than last year, but that’s not saying a lot. The only way to go was up for them in those areas. Patterson is a scrambler, so getting him moving out of the pocket shouldn’t be the world’s hardest task. But it might be the most important one, forcing him to make throws on the run instead of hitting the tight end from the comfort of his own pocket.

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

2 Key Stats

51 percent

Opponent passing percentage for UM. That’s pretty good, but with a slight caveat – UM hasn’t necessarily played against the best passing games. Northwestern was their best test, where Clayton “Spartan Killer” Thorson went 16/27 the week before the Wildcats…you know what, forget it. Besides that, the best quarterback they’ve faced is a guy who has since been benched in South Bend because his struggles throwing the ball.

Regardless, UM still has the numbers to back up that they have a passing defense to be reckoned with. Those drops

32 percent

That would be the Michigan defense’s percent third down conversion percentage, good for 21st in the nation. Limiting three-and-outs will be one of the keys to the game, especially with a still-inexperienced punter in Tyler Hunt. If MSU gets the ball around their own 20, goes three-and-out and has to line drive punt it to Michigan…yikes. Starting field position will be thy name of the game on Saturday.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

1 Best Bet

UM -7.5, O/U 41

There are way too many unknowns on the injury report on both sidelines for me to pick the spread here. So, with that being said, I’m going with the under here. Both defenses are dogs, and the weather (the preferred excuse of UM football™) won’t be helping the offenses either. My explanation is as simple as that.

Record: 5-2

Poll

What’s your best bet for Saturday?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    MSU +7
    (160 votes)
  • 27%
    UM -7
    (115 votes)
  • 5%
    Over 41
    (21 votes)
  • 29%
    Under 41
    (124 votes)
420 votes total Vote Now