Alright, welcome back to non-conference play.
The Spartans are welcoming in the Chippewas for MSU’s first home game in 127 days (don’t look that up, trust me here).
After three games into the season, there’s a lot of stuff we want to see. Even with a lowly CMU team coming to town, there’s still key stats. And since I’m writing this, you best believe there’s a gambling pick.
3 Thing We Want To See
Better red zone play calling
Matt Hoeppner did a better job writing about this than I will scream-typing about this, so go give it a read.
A jet sweep to Sowards on the short end of the field five yards away from the end zone? Are we just pulling plays out of a hat?
Some two, three-deep work
The young guys shined last week at Indiana, with Shakur Brown, Jalen Nailor and Matt Dotson all scoring their first touchdowns.
Still, we want to see more young guys get more reps. Especially with the new redshirt rule that allows up to four games be played.
On the top of players we want to see is Rocky Lombardi – the redshirt freshman backup quarterback who has yet to throw an in-game pass in a Spartan uniform. Other guys on offense we want to see more of? Weston Bridges, Cam Chambers, Blake Bueter and even a little more La’Darius Jefferson would be cool.
On defense, it would be nice to watch Kalon Gervin, Xavier Henderson and any of the slew of defensive linemen that are in the two and three-deep. And this is the last, best chance to have one of these games until Rutgers comes to town.
A run game, for the love of all that is good
We are very close to moving to DEFCON 1 on the run game, which hasn’t produced a notable performance all season against…not so great competition.
If the Spartans can’t get anything going on the ground against Central Michigan, I’m ready to pull all the alarms and really start panicking. If these guys can’t show a push in the run game against Central Michigan, what makes you think they’ll be able to get it done against Penn State and Ohio State?
Central Michigan has given up an average of 194.3 rushing yards per game this season – almost 100 more yards than MSU has given up combined all season. This has to be the game MSU either flirts with or blows beyond the 200 yard mark.
2 Key Stats
Who else remembers the infamous 2009 game? Of course you do – it was terrible.
Do you know what’s not terrible? Beating CMU by a combined score of 116-24 in the following three games against the Chips. HA, SUCK IT CMU. IT’S LIKE THAT 2009 GAME NEVER EVEN HAPPENED (/flinches at memories of Dan LeFevour).
This will be MSU’s first game against CMU since 2015 when the Spartans won 30-10.
93 vs. 121
What’s the 93? It’s what MSU’s pass defense is ranked out of 130 teams when it comes to yards given up per game, coming in at 323.7 yards per game.
And what’s 121? That’s CMU’s passing offense rank in yards per game, throwing for just 138.5 yards per game. And it’s not like they never throw – they’ve aired the ball out 108 times this season. And they haven’t been playing a murderers row of teams – they’ve played Kentucky (not terrible this season!), Kansas, Northern Illinois and (checks notes) Maine.
The Spartans rush defense is insane. The pass defense should get a feel-good game on Saturday to vault them into Big Ten play with some swagger back, hopefully.
1 Gambling Pick
(MSU -28.5, O/U 46.5)
I’m going to get a little frisky here. That over/under of 46.5 is not a large number, but I’m still going to go below it and take the under.
First, I can easily see a game where CMU doesn’t even get to 10 points. Let’s say the Chips do get to 10 – I really can’t comfortably say MSU will get to 37 or higher.
Yes, I know they just did it against Indiana, but it took a pick-6, a fake field goal touchdown and a once-a-season 75-yard touchdown off a jet sweep to get to that 35 number last week.
Second, as far as the spread of -28.5 goes, it feels like MSU hasn’t blown out a team since 1999. So I can’t bet MSU there. I also can’t bet CMU +28.5, because I can also envision a game where they lose by 2,000 points. That spread is a 50-50 toss-up to me.
What’s your best bet for this weekend vs. Central Michigan?
This poll is closed