5 most important players for Michigan football against Michigan State

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Michigan State is also a confusing team to figure out. MSU is coming off a huge, spirit-lifting home victory over a good Iowa Hawkeyes team, while MI got a bye week to prepare for the Spartans. The over/under total for this contest is listed at just 40 points.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke against Michigan past year.

Many expect a lower scoring game, but there's a reason MI is an 11-point favorite (as of Thursday). It airs live on ABC.

Mark Dantonio has won seven out of 10 games against MI. The Spartans are 3-1 with the under, hitting it in all three wins this season.

The Wolverine defense is giving up 13.5 points and 203.3 yards per game. The offense is rolling one week and then struggles the next. U-M's offense, despite scoring 31.5 points and garnering 407.3 yards of offense per game, has been rather disappointing. Quarterback Brian Lewerke has thrown for 963 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 248 yards and two scores.

MI is 4-0 to start the season thanks to a 28-10 win at Purdue two weeks ago. Chase Winovich is their best pass rusher; he leads the big ten in sacks.

The Michigan defense will simply not allow MSU to move the ball consistently, and the U-M offense should get good field position to work with. John O'Korn stepped in and did an excellent job. How can you expect him to finally find it against the fifth-best defense in the country? With so many young players seeing their first true rivalry action, Harbaugh needs his veteran leader to step up and have a big game. It's nearly worth putting a spy on him (though defensive coordinator Don Brown doesn't usually operate that way) given that the scramble might (theoretically) be one of MSU's best offensive plays Saturday. The last time these two met in Ann Arbor, MSU won on the final play, which was a botched punt. This Michigan team has vast talent on both sides of the ball, but most notably on the defensive side.

Even if MSU doesn't have the most experienced offense, their play style and big-play potential keeps defenses guessing.

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