This weekend the rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines (4-2) and the Michigan State Spartans (4-3) resumes in Ann Arbor.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for both of these teams so far. The Wolverines, who came into the season with big expectations, faced adversity early. After abysmal losses to Alabama and Notre Dame in early games, many Wolverines fans may have feared that their season was over.
The beloved quarterback Denard Robinson kept committing crucial turnovers and the idea that other teams were finally figuring out how to contain this dynamic quarterback seemed much less farfetched.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and it appears that the demise of the Wolverines has been greatly exaggerated. Of course, these observations come with the benefit of hindsight, but it’s hard to fault the Wolverines for ugly losses to Alabama and Notre Dame.
Alabama is the consensus number one team in the country, while Notre Dame may be the biggest surprise in college football with its dominant defense led by star linebacker Manti Te’o.
Now, after two consecutive lopsided victories against Purdue and Illinois, the Wolverines are tied for first place in the Legends Division.
On the other hand, Michigan State started its season 2-0. Eventually, though, things began to unravel. The Spartans have lost three of their last five games. These losses included a devastating 19-16 loss to Iowa that culminated with an Andrew Maxwell interception in double overtime.
There is still plenty of time for the Spartans to make a run for the Big Ten title, but a loss at the Big House this weekend might leave too much to overcome. MSU will have to rely on running back Le’Veon Bell to help control the tempo of the game and wear out the Michigan defense.
The Spartans will need to do everything they can to keep the ball away from Denard Robinson who is coming off a stellar game against the Illini where he accounted for four total touchdowns. You can bet MSU coach Mark Dantonio and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi have been putting in extra hours in the office this week trying to figure out ways to contain him.
The Spartan’s season may depend on it.