In what coach Jim Harbaugh termed an “improvement week” rather than a bye week, the Wolverines’ time off couldn’t have come at a better time with Wilton Speight going down a couple weeks ago against Purdue. The week off allowed John O’Korn to get acquainted with the first-team offense before their upcoming rivalry game with Michigan State this Saturday.
Although Michigan State isn’t the team they were five years ago, they still pose a viable threat to walk into Michigan Stadium and upset the Wolverines. Michigan won last season, but that’s overshadowed by the way the Spartans won in Ann Arbor two years ago when the Wolverines botched a punt in the final seconds, allowing the Spartans to return the ball for a game-winning touchdown.
Many are still not picking Michigan to win the Big Ten due to the inconsistencies on offense, but they’re hoping that inserting O’Korn into the starting lineup will create more uniformity. In what will likely be a grind-it-out, classic Big Ten game, Michigan State running back L.J. Scott will look to run past a Michigan defense that has allowed only 69 rushing yards per game, which makes them the best-run defense in the NCAA.
If MSU can’t get the ground game going, it will be up to sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke to air it out against the inexperienced secondary of the Wolverines. Regardless of what happens this Saturday, when the two teams meet for a night game at Michigan Stadium for the first time ever, the Wolverines won’t be expecting an ending similar to the one that happened there a couple years ago.
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