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Matchup to watch: Michigan’s Legion of Blue vs Felton Davis III

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Michigan’s top ranked secondary faces their toughest test yet.

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Ready for an air-raid?

Okay me neither, but if the weather holds the numbers indicate we may be in store for more passing than the typical Wolverines-Spartans bout gives us. Brian Lewerke has not made the jump this season that many expected, but the Spartans are still best through the air. Felton Davis III is the biggest reason why.

Through six games, no Michigan State running back has even reached 200 yards. Meanwhile, Davis has 31 catches for 474 yards and four scores. The 6-foot-4 senior from Richmond provides a unique challenge for the Wolverines, one they haven’t faced yet this season.

SMU’s James Proche, who we wrote about leading up to the game, torched Michigan’s vaunted secondary for 11 grabs, 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While Proche is a nimble athlete capable of taking it to the house at any moment, Davis is primarily a possession receiver who excels at making contested catches. Despite reaching the end zone four times, Davis does not have a catch going more than 37 yards.

In the monsoon in the Big House last year, the duo of Lavert Hill and David Long held Davis to one catch for nine yards. The Wolverines will look to replicate a similar effort this week as the Spartans offense has struggled mightily to sustain drives without Davis’ output.

There is a sliver of possibility this game gets turned into somewhat of a shootout. Michigan State isn’t particularly interested in running the ball, and desperately struggle to defend the pass on the other side. A week after Michigan throttled Wisconsin on the ground, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another pivot in strategy to attack the Spartans where they’re the weakest.

If that’s the case, it’s going to be on Michigan’s armada of corners and the entire Legion of Blue (I will force this into existence) to corral Davis, frustrate Lewerke and allow the Wolverines’ offense to put the team ahead.