Steve, Craig, Tim, and Steve B welcome you to The Wolverine Den! For a preview of the next game, see below. For a look back (and to see the incriminating pictures), choose a game on the Last Week menu. If you plan on attending a tailgate at The Den for the first time, see the blog menu for Den Law and the house rules to many of the usual tailgate "activities". Click on Buy Gear for TWD shirt! See you on Saturday.
This Week at The Wolverine Den
Michigan at Michigan State
October 20, 2018 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Michigan and Michigan State renew their annual rivalry on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. MSU was pretty much left for dead after starting the season with unimpressive wins and then losses to Arizona St and Northwestern. But the ship was righted last week with a last second victory over Penn State – in Happy Valley. For the Wolverines, this was probably the best thing that could have happened. We all know that this is the most important game on the schedule every year for MSU. A reeling MSU would give Michigan the belief that they could just show up and win. Ask Penn State about that. The Spartans almost always give their best performance of the season against their hated in-state rivals. And now Michigan should be aware. Michigan had often viewed this game as a less important rivalry, inferior to our more important game (Ohio State). Then there was that Little Brother comment. It all reaffirmed that this is a very hard-fought and competitive game that means plenty to both schools. Play through the whistle as this will be the hardest hitting game of the year.
Omelets in a bag
MSU comes into the game with a 4-2 record, but still control their own destiny in the Big Ten East. QB Brian Lewerke is a good passer with lots of mobility. But he has been disappointing this year – completing only 60% of this throws and is near the bottom of the Big Ten in passing efficiency (8 TDs and 7 INTs). But he has the talent and led MSU on the game-winning drive last week against the Nittany Lions. RB LJ Scott returned for his senior season and has been a no-show. He has been dressed but injuries have prevented him from playing. Last week, he didn’t even make the trip to Happy Valley. Without Scott, MSU is among the worst teams in the conference in rushing yards. Much of that has to do with injuries and inexperience on the offensive line. The best receiver is Felton Davis, who leads the team in receptions, yards and TDs. MSU likes to control the clock with lots of running and short passes. They lead the Big Ten in Time of Possession.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
While the Michigan football team is ranked #6 in the country, which Michigan athletic team currently holds the highest ranking in its sport?
On defense, the Spartys rank 1st in the nation in rushing defense but near the bottom in passing defense. Linebacker Joe Bachie is the defensive leader. The secondary is young and has been a problem this season. The D-Line is by committee and has been pretty good this year (obviously since they lead the nation in rushing defense).
After last week’s dominating performance against Wisconsin, Michigan looks to improve its performance on the road. So far this year, Michigan lost at Notre Dame and had to make a strong comeback to win at Northwestern. Road wins in the Big Ten usually determine the champion and this year is no different. It’s strength against strength – the Michigan rushing attack against the #1 rushing defense and the MSU passing game against the #1 passing defense. Sounds like a low scoring game. If MSU has some early success, this game could be close. Look for D’Antonio to take risks to make the game close – I wouldn’t be surprised by an on-side kick to open the game. Nothing is off the table. Last week at Penn Stae, MSU ran a fake field goal, a fake punt and a halfback pass. But there is just too much Michigan defense for the Spartans to overcome. If Michigan gets a quick start, this could be a blowout. Otherwise, it may take deep into the 2nd half for the Spartans to start thinking about their basketball team (and last year's two beat downs by the Wolverines).
Michigan owns a 69-35-5 record in the series. But MSU has won 8 of the last 10 games, and, of course, Michigan won the 6 games prior to that so the series is even over the last 16 games.
The Wolverines are a 7 point road favorite.
Great Moments in Wolverines - Younger Siblings History
- Woodson’s interception in the 1997 win at Spartan Stadium. One of the greatest individual efforts ever. Look at the picture of this great play on the wall in the Wolverine Den.
- Michigan beat the Spartys 119-0 in 1902 behind 7 TDs from Al Herrnstein.
- Michigan held MSU to only 10 yards of total offense in the 1942 shutout.
- Desmond Howard had 140 yards receiving and a 95 yard kick return in the 1990 game. He was also tackled (and no flag was thrown!) on the 2-point conversion attempt that would have given Michigan the victory that day.
- Butch Woolfolk had his best day as a Wolverine with 253 yards in the 1981 win.
- Rob Lytle had 180 yards rushing on just 10 carries in the 1976 win.
- Chris Perry had 51 carries for 219 yards in the 2003 victory.
- Braylon Edwards had 11 receptions for 189 yards and 3 TDs in the triple overtime thriller of 2004.
- Mike Hart and Chad Henne beat the Spartans 4 straight times. Henne had 14 TD passes and Hart 672 yards rushing in those 4 MSU games – and Hart’s famous “little brother” comment.