Editor’s Note: For the few degenerates who actually follow this blog, as you probably do not know I am now a student at Michigan State University. I hope to blog previews about every football game and big basketball games. Although if you do read my blog you know I’ll probably stop after a few weeks.
Welcome week has started, freshmen are getting lost on campus, students are dying from alcohol poisoning and the CATA bus. It can only mean one thing: COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK! And with that, the defending B1G Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan State Spartans will be ready to defend their crown. First up, we have FCS Jacksonville State lined up for the Friday night game under the lights.
Know Thy Enemy
The biggest fact to know about Jacksonville State is that they are not from Jacksonville, Florida but actually Alabama. They are also an FCS juggernaut, having knocked off Ole Miss a few years ago. The Cocks are coming off a great season last year in which they set 49 school records en route to an 11 win season. Just like MSU, they are ranked #8 in the pre-season polls.
Last year the Gamecocks were ranked 5th in the FCS in total offense, including averaging 522.7 yards per game. This will certainly provide a difficult task for Pat Narduzzi’s defense as the Spartan Dawgs must replace 6 defensive starters. The Cocks run a very up-tempo offensive attack very similar to Oregon, who MSU travels to next week.
The Cocks are also rolling out new head coach in John Grass, who was the mastermind behind the Cocks offensive assault. While Grass is from humble beginnings as a high school coach only 2 years ago, its important to remember that Guz Malzahn is from a very similar situation.
Key Player Sophomore QB Eli Jenkins
Jenkins is returning off an excellent freshman campaign in which he earned All-American honors. He leads the explosive Cocks offense which scored 65 touchdowns, and 528 points a season ago. MSU in the past has struggled against high offensive teams, and Jenkins and Cock co. are hoping to continue that trend.
This game has big upset written all over it; high power offense, new coach who will attack, as well as some errily similar situations to the notorious App State upset (high power offense, playing Oregon week 2) don’t be surprised if the Cocks hang around for a bit. As we all know, Michigan State’s offense is predicated on clock-management and Dantonio’s game plan is always defensively orientated. So if JSU can strike early and limit MSU’s offense on a few possessions, the Cocks will be in an excellent position in the game. Also, expect speed demon RJ Shelton to earn quality reps in the secondary, as well as highly touted frosh Malik McDowell to get quite a bit of playing time at DT. Mike Sadler also begins his Heisman campaign.
Closer than many will hope, expect ESPN to try and drum up controversy at halftime when JSU is hanging in there. But with a coaching staff that makes the best adjustments in the game, the Spartans should pull away by the 3rd quarter.
MSU 31 – JSU 24