Duel In The Desert - Final Thoughts

Duel In The Desert - Final Thoughts

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Duel In The Desert - Final Thoughts

While Michigan State puts the finishing touches on its gameplan for a tough challenge against Arizona State Saturday night in Tempe, SpartansWire has some final thoughts on a few keys to the game.

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We’ve told you what we think is going to happen tomorrow night when Michigan State squares off in a huge early season test against the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe – in case you missed our game prediction, here’s a link –

https://spartanswire.com/2018/09/06/michigan-state-at-arizona-state-game-prediction/

There is a 76% chance that this prediction has an 83% of coming to fruition.

Having said that, we’re confident in the idea of Michigan State being 2-0 when 3:00am et rolls around Sunday morning.

Some final thoughts on the keys to the ball game:

“I’M PACING MYSELF, SERGEANT.”

Let’s remind ourselves that much – if not most – of the reason for Michigan State’s soft defense and wobbly approach to corralling Jordan Love, Dax Raymond, and the Utah State Aggies last Friday night was the way Aggie head coach Matt Wells applied a very smart up tempo approach to attacking the Spartans.

At times, the Aggies took less than ten seconds in between plays before they were attacking again.

This limited Michigan State’s ability to ever really become comfortable on defense.

This limited Michigan State’s ability to lean forward rather than be on its heels all night.

This limited Michigan State’s ability to properly leverage its depth at all positions since Spartans were needing to sprint onto the field with mere seconds to get situated and appropriately aligned as the Aggies kept on going.

Arizona State brings a far more traditional approach to the field on offense and this is going to let Michigan State dial in, dig in, and be far more effective since this defense is, after all, very good.

There will be some big plays that Arizona State 5th year senior quarterback Manny Wilkins will be able to make with his redshirt junior wide receiver, 6’4″, 220 pound All-Everything N’Keal Harry – but, over the course of the four quarters, the Spartans should be able to attack, apply pressure, and limit the long drives that the Aggies were able to execute since the pace will be more along the lines of what plays into the hands of the Michigan State defensive strengths.

THE CRATES OF WD-40 MADE THE TRIP TO THE DESERT

Michigan State committed nine penalties for 62 yards in the season opener.

One of them negated a beautiful touchdown run by LJ Scott.

Others compromised the Spartans as they were preparing to pound the ball into the endzone and take full control of the game against Utah State.

Thankfully, Matt Coghlin was perfect on Friday night and when the penalties inside the ten yard line turned potential touchdowns into field goal attempts, Coghlin’s conversions became the most underrated part of the victory.

The rust isn’t going to be there on Saturday night.

The Spartans will be far more focused, far more disciplined, and far more efficient due to a game that will feature far less penalties, particularly when the team is in the red zone.

LEWERKE WILL SHINE LIKE THE DESERT SUN

This is about as substantial of a homecoming as a player can have.

Brian Lewerke is already recognized as a leader, a smart guy, a competitor, and a supremely talented quarterback.

He has the tools and the weapons at his disposal – and he has the overall presence and on-field demeanor to perform under pressure.

Michigan State is 1-0 right now because he calmly and coolly executed a game-winning drive when things could have gone poorly, to say the least.

And now he’s returning home with his team from East Lansing, Michigan to play against the Sun Devils.

His entire family will be there.

His friends will be there.

His Little League baseball coach will probably be there.

And with the two gaffes having happened in the season opener, it says here that Lewerke is going to play like the guy who is on all of the preseason watch lists and lead his team to a win that will be extra special for a kid who grew up in Arizona.

THE SPARTANS JUST KNOW HOW TO WIN

There is a fair amount of attention being paid to how Michigan State just finds ways to win games.

Whether the games are against monsters on the schedule, or against teams that give the Spartans a harder time than anticipated, or against teams that fall somewhere in between, the talkers and the reporters are saying Mark Dantonio’s teams just know how to win.

The reason the talkers and the reporters are saying and writing these things is because the facts support this.

Michigan State has a better team than Arizona State – we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would dispute this.

Michigan State played poorly yet found a way to win its season opener.

Michigan State will have improved this week by focusing on the areas that needed increased focus because the Spartans are very well-coached.

And Michigan State will find the ways that will be necessary to win this game.

Because that’s what this football program does.

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