Anyone that is taking BGSU lightly hasnâ€™t watched the film.Â Are they the most talented team in the nation?Â No!Â Are they the most talented team that MSU will face?Â No!Â Are they as talented as the Spartans?Â No!Â So why do I say that?Â Because MSU has lost the games in recent years they clearly should have won. BGSU may not have all the talent, but they are a very solid team that is exceptionally well coached.
I have watched the film of the BGSU vs. Minnesota game four times and here are some interesting observations:
- This coaching staff makes exceptional adjustments throughout the game.Â Gregg Brandon (Urban Meyerâ€™s former head assistant) is a very good coach and gets the last bit of blood out of that turnip.Â Brandon should get to a BCS school in the next few years. He and his staff made several adjustments clearly outcoaching Tim Brewster last week.
- This team is fundamentally sound.Â Their linemen pull with minimal footwork and get to the point of attack very quickly.Â They also are very sound tacklers on the defensive side of the ball.Â
- They will not be intimidated one bit.Â Now the Metrodome is not Spartan Stadium in terms of noise and crowd participation, but they were not even remotely worried about the atmosphere.Â Many of those kids played with many of the Spartans.Â They will come in with that MAC Conference "chip on their shoulders" because they didnâ€™t get a Big Ten scholarship.
- The BGSU staff has guts.Â They went for a two-point conversion rather than a tie to get the win and got it.Â They will challenge MSU.
- This Spartan staff will not be looking ahead to Pitt or Notre Dame.Â They have their eyes clearly focused on this BGSU team. You saw how they eliminated dumb penalties and turnovers last week. They want to desperately change the perception that this team folds under adverse conditions.Â Dantonio took empty seats at Spartan Stadium last week as a personal challenge to himself.Â He doesnâ€™t blame the fans.Â He loves MSU with a passion and he takes it as a personal challenge. His staff and players never want to see empty seats in Spartan Stadium. He knows that the weary fan base has to see a quality product. He will approach the games against BGSU and Pitt as a chance to show the Spartan Nation that there is a new Sheriff in town.
- The Spartans will be able to roll up yards on this defense running the football.Â They are susceptible to the play action pass. As most Spartans know, the run sets up the vertical passing game.Â Look for a lot of Jehuu and Javon running the ball setting allowing play action for the receivers and the TEâ€™s.
- The MSU DBâ€™s will get a huge test.Â This is actually a great test for them with ND on the horizon.Â BGSU will spread the field and throw it all over.Â If the revamped DL can get pressure, BGSU has no chance.Â Their QB does look very good when he has time to deliver the ball, but struggles when he is rushed.Â Minnesota got very little pressure and he picked them apart.Â If MSU can fix that, that Spartans will be able to shut them down, making them one dimesional.Â When Minnesota had pressure (which they rarely did) he was extremely inaffective.
Keys to the game:
- The MSU defensive line will have to be able to get pressure and that will be the first thing that I will be looking for on Saturday.
- The MSU offensive line is much bigger. As long as they can manhandle the DL of BGSU Spartan backs will roll over the Falcons.Â
- If MSU's DBâ€™s donâ€™t get help from the DL, they will have a very long day.Â In fairness to them for past criticisms, they were often played out of position, poorly coached and had no help from the DL which was getting bruised and battered.Â With that said, they are well coached now, they will not be put in a bad position. If MSU's DL kicks it on Saturday, the Spartans could be very poor hosts.
I think you will see both Ringer and Caucrick MSU rush for over 100 yards each. The Spartans will be able to keep the ball on the ground, do nothing terribly fancy (thus saving much of the playbook) and the offense will dominate.Â The Spartan game plan should be a lot more running the ball than even last week.Â Â Now that doesnâ€™t mean that they wonâ€™t throw the ball, but if the running game is going well, and I think it will, that will open up the passing attack. If MSU is able to mount a commanding lead, do expect Mark to run up the score up with more passing.
The DL for the Spartans is exponentially better than last season. They had five sacks last week without running too many blitz packages.Â BGSU has an offense that is predicated on making the right read.Â That means that BGSU needs time in order to make the plays develop.Â Here is a number for you all to remember.Â If the Spartans get five sacks again, they win in a cake walk.Â If not, it could be interesting.Â Now one thing that will be interesting to see, is if BGSU attacks MSU defenders quickly with two step drops and short routes due our defensive pressure. Does MSU's pressure on the BGSU QB force them to make "hot reads," thereby creating errant throws that lead to BGSU turnovers? If MSU forces the BGSU QB into delivering the ball quickly, the Spartans may not get five sacks, but they may make that up in turnovers due to QB pressure and interceptions.
Final score:Â MSU: 38 BGSU:Â 17