It’s rivalry week in Ann Arbor as the Michigan State Spartans come to town and try to stretch their winning streak against the Michigan Wolverines to three games.
If Michigan wants to avoid what would be a humiliating loss to the spiraling Spartans, these players will have to step up and perform.
C Olu Oluwatimi
Michigan State is dwelling at the bottom of the conference standings in rush defense at 153 yards per game, but the Spartans have been missing a few pieces along the defensive line due to injury until a couple weeks ago. Now, arguably their best defensive player, defensive tackle Jacob Slade, is back healthy and will shore up the interior of the line.
This gives Oluwatimi his toughest test of the season so far against the All-Big Ten performer. The Michigan rushing attack has not skipped a beat from last year, and that is in large part to Oluwatimi plugging in seamlessly to at center. He’ll need to keep the unit cohesive to create lanes for Blake Corum and crew.
In 2020, Michigan State came in as an inferior team but pulled off the victory by hitting on consistent deep shots downfield against an overmatched Michigan secondary. This year, the Spartans’ best chance at slowing Michigan’s offense down will likely be using a similar strategy.
Wide receivers Keon Coleman and Jayden Reed are a potent duo that have combined for almost 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns this season. DJ Turner will have to keep up his solid performance this season and avoid pass interference penalties to not allow Michigan State’s offense to gain chunk plays.
RB Blake Corum
Corum is having a tremendous season that could see him end up in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony if he keeps it up the rest of the season. In big rivalry games like this, he can help craft the Heisman narrative. Last year, it was Michigan State’s Heisman candidate running back, Kenneth Walker, that took the show by scoring five touchdowns. Corum has a chance to make a statement in this game and flip the script.