3 Keys - Courtesy Of UMAAer, Joe Bagby

3 Keys - Courtesy Of UMAAer, Joe Bagby

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3 Keys - Courtesy Of UMAAer, Joe Bagby

How about some perspectives from the UMAA side of the field regarding what a UMAAer thinks are some keys to the game?

Contact @crowleysullivan

On Saturday, September 17th, 1988, UMAA hosted Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes at UMAA Stadium.

It was a glorious, early Autumn afternoon and my great pal, Joe Bagby, was a freshman student at UMAA.

Bagby probably doesn’t remember but I spoke with him on the phone that evening from my home, me still a senior in high school wondering what life was like on the college campus and also wondering what the hell happened in the final 5:23 of a game that UMAA was leading 30-14 but wound up losing 31-30 after Carlos Huerta capped off a frenetic comeback to give The U the victory.

All these years later, Bagby has always provided sane perspective from the UMAA side of the fence.

On Saturday, October 13th, 1990, I stood right, smack next to him all afternoon in the last row of UMAA Stadium when Desmond Howard dropped the pass that was placed perfectly in his bread basket – and, as I’ve pointed out many times, Keith Jackson said/shouted as the play unfolded, “HOWARD…….DROPPED IT…….HE DROPPED IT…HE DROPPED IT……..HOWARD DROPPED IT……………………..HE HAD IT………………..and he dropped it……..”

His brother, Jeff Bagby, is a year younger than I am and is also a UMAA graduate – and he looks as if he’s PJ Fleck’s identical twin.

What does any of this have to do with the price of caramel squares in Machu Picchu?

Bagby has kindly presented me with three areas for all of us to consider in advance of the game that doesn’t matter to UMAA since Lansing Tech is not a rival.

What are the areas Bagby thinks are important and what do we think?

DEVIN BUSH v BRIAN LEWERKE
Bagby’s Take
Bush is fast, but Brandon Wimbush shredded the Michigan defense for most of the game and he is not nearly the thrower Lewerke is and a comparable runner.
Lewerke running with the ball was key last season and will presumably be key again this year.
SpartansWire’s Take on Bagby’s Take
Bagby must be reading a lot of SpartansWire since he’s saying that Lewerke’s ability to run with the football will “presumably” be key “again” this year.
Bagby’s right – Lewerke was able to run effectively in last season’s matchup at UMAA.
His 14-yard dash for the endzone in the first quarter set the tone and he wound up with 60 yards rushing on the night.
Bagby’s also right about Brandon Wimbush not being nearly the thrower Lewerke is and that they’re comparable runners.
One of the head scratchers here at SpartansWire through the first six games of the season has been why Lewerke has not attacked with his legs, why he appears to have been limited by strategy when it comes to tucking and running, and why the Spartans just haven’t leveraged one of their most dangerous weapons – Lewerke as a runner.
It seems as if this is a game when there wouldn’t be any reason to hold anything back – let Lewerke loose.
As we know, Lewerke hasn’t had the season everyone – mostly, Lewerke – would have expected so far.
But Lewerke sure did hang tough and come through at Penn State last Saturday.
His precision, his toughness, and his familiar will to win was present all afternoon – and it all lit up like a pinball machine on the final, 76-yard game-winning drive with 1:19 left to play when State took over.

If Lewerke plays like he did against Penn State, particularly on the final drive, it won’t matter much what Devin Bush tries to do.
FELTON DAVIS v DON BROWN
Bagby’s Take –
Davis is clearly in the mold of the best wide receivers ever to play in this game…Braylon, Plaxico, Charles Rogers, etc.
Will Don Brown let him go 1-1 against his corners?
Michigan hasn’t defended anyone in his league yet.
SpartansWire’s Take on Bagby’s Take –
I keep on hearing about the genius of Don Brown.
Don Brown is a very accomplished and smart football coach.
He knows how to scheme and set his team up so that it’s in the best position possible to defend opponents.
So far, however, I haven’t seen Don Brown suit up in a UMAA uniform worn by members of “Team 123” or whatever this year’s Team # happens to be.
Maybe Don Brown will be able to somehow empower the UMAA defenders to grow six or seven inches and be able to jump a foot higher or be able to run much faster by the time Saturday rolls around.
But if I choose to presume that Don Brown is not able to magically turn the members of “Team 121” who play in the UMAA secondary into Charles Woodson, Deion Sanders, Troy Polamalu, Ronnie Lott, and Antoine Winfield, all I can say is that I extend the best of luck to the UMAAers at trying to shut down Felton Davis.

INJURIES
Bagby’s Take –
State has several that were documented yesterday on the tv screen.
Will any of those guys come back next week?
Michigan has 3 impact players whose return status is unknown: Defensive End Rashan Gary, Wide Receiver Tarik Black, and Safety Tyree Kinnel.
Kinnel is the senior captain of the defense, but if Gary or Black returned the impact would probably be bigger.
SpartansWire’s Take on Bagby’s Take –
I guess it’s fair to say that State has had “several” injured players.
The status of LJ Scott may be something to examine – however, Michigan State has been without LJ for four straight games now and it almost seemed as if La’Darius Jefferson and Connor Heyward started to find their rhythms against Penn State.
A healthy LJ Scott would be a huge boost for the Spartans.  Perhaps he’s ready to go.
More importantly, however, have been the injuries sustained along Michigan State’s offensive line.
However, against Penn State, the same five oxen lined up at the same five positions all game long and not one of them injured his finger or his buttocks or his wrist or his groin or his knee or his mouth.
And it’s probably no coincidence that Michigan State had its most productive performance on the ground against Penn State.
The other injuries that have impacted Michigan State have included stars such as wide receiver Cody White (broken hand, won’t be on the field on Saturday), wide receiver Darrell Stewart (might play Saturday), wide receiver Jalen Nailor (might play Saturday), and guards Kevin Jarvis and David Beedle.
It would be great for Michigan State if any or all of these guys could be on the field in order to play winning football (term used by UMAA head coach, mostly after games that UMAA has lost against Michigan State) but we won’t know until the game starts.

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