ES Game Day: MSU and Iowa won't score 25 points COMBINED The Enlightened Spartan: ES Game Day: MSU and Iowa won't score 25 points COMBINED

Saturday, October 05, 2013

ES Game Day: MSU and Iowa won't score 25 points COMBINED

Now that's an ugly Hawkeye.
MSU Spartans (3-1, 0-0) at
Iowa Ugly Chickens (4-1, 1-0)

Time:  12 pm ET
Location:  Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Weather:  66 and clowdy
Line: MSU by 1


ES sez:  Let's be honest.  Anyone who is picking either Michigan State or Iowa to score more than 17 points is stoned or just not paying attention. These are the two best defenses in the B1G Ten, and they both lack explosive offenses.  Iowa has shown far more efficiency and balance on offense that MSU's offense.  The Chicken running game has asserted itself well, with Mark Weisman gaining 615 yards on 119 carries (5.2 per rush); their QB, Jake Rudock's numbers are an envy of Spartan QBs, with 62% completions and 6 TDs to 4 INTs.

But, the Spartan defense is the BEST in America, especially against the run, giving up just 58 yards per game and 2.0 yards per rush.  The Spartans gave up only 82 yards rushing to Notre Dame.   MSU is only giving up 130 passing yards through the air on average... that is a stingy average of 188 total yards per game allowed by the MSU defense, best in USA.  MSU forced ND into 14-of-34 passing (41%), and are allowing opponents just a 36% completion percentage through the air.  Third Downs?  MSU is giving up just 21%.  Furthermore, the Spartan D is making plays, giving up just 4 passing and 2 rushing TDs, while snagging 8 turnovers.  They have 9 sacks on the season, 24 tackles for loss, and 28 pass break ups.  That is an all-around impressive effort:  lots of pressure up front, good job plugging the holes, and tight coverage in the secondary. These numbers are beyond impressive, and MSU will show the nation once again how a defense can dominate against the Ugly Chickens.

On the flip side, there is no team in America that has beat itself on offense as often as the Spartans.  Sure, MD was bone-headed in the last game, making critically poor decisions at the worst times.  Expect Dantonio to be more deliberate and patient with his use of the offensive line and the MSU running game.  The Spartans are improving in the running game, and it showed against Notre Dame. MSU is averging 186 on the ground per game, and 4.6 per carry.  But, Iowa's defense is giving up on average just 79 yards and 2.9 per carry on the season. It may be 3 yards a carry, but methinks we'll see more of the Spartan offense on the ground without the nonsense reverses or wildcat that was called at the wrong time, without their best players, during the ND game.

For MSU, Connor Cook at QB is the most nimble of foot among four bad choices, and he is completing just 53% of his passes... with a long of a measly 26 yards. Spartan wideouts have dropped countless passes in big games, and this must be corrected.  Iowa is giving up 186 yards per game through the air, but has 8 INTs on the season.  With two weeks to prepare, the Spartan coaches better have pulled together a more thoughtful offensive gameplan, focused on a more determined running game, that puts the players in the best position to win.

First team to 13 points wins the game.  That will be the Spartans.  They'll get just enough offense, and plenty of defense.

Final score:  MSU 13, Ugly Chickens 9.

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