Your mega guide to the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
WHO: No. 11 Michigan (6-0) at No. 23 Michigan State (4-1)
WHERE: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
ODDS: Michigan State is favored by 2 1/2 points, according to sportsbook.com.
SERIES RECORD: Michigan leads, 67-31-5
LAST MEETING: Michigan State won 34-17 on Oct. 9, 2010. (AnnArbor.com coverage)
WEATHER: Showers in the morning. Windy and temperatures in the low 50s at kickoff. Latest forecast.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: ESPN; Radio: Michigan Sports Network (local affiliates).
Bragging rights seem so trivial this year, don't they? If nothing else is at stake, the winner of the Michigan-Michigan State football game at least packs up the Paul Bunyan Trophy and gives its fans a year's worth of bragging rights in their office or school or living room.
This game at Spartan Stadium is about so much more. It's about being a contender or pretender, about redemption or continued dominance, about tainted legacies or hero status. AnnArbor.com has covered all those storylines this week. Here is a compilation of related stories leading up to kickoff:
• AnnArbor.com Michigan football beat writer Kyle Meinke says this game is bigger for the Wolverines than anyone could have anticipated before the season started. Why? Because, Meinke claims in this video preview, a win at Spartan Stadium gives Michigan a legitimate shot at a Big Ten Legends Division championship:
• Michigan's senior class is trying to change its legacy against Michigan State
• Is Michigan at a disadvantage because of MSU's off week? The data says no, but there are two schools of thought
• Advice from a Spartan: Tips for U-M fans heading to East Lansing this weekend
• Our weekly poll: Las Vegas oddsmakers have made Michigan State a 2 1/2-point favorite. What do you think?
Courtesy of Cathy Kirby
• Playing for Kirby: Michigan lineman Mark Huyge wants win over MSU for deceased friend
• Catches are down for Michigan receivers, but their 'knockdowns' number is up
• Kyle Meinke hosted a live chat on Thursday afternoon. Read the transcripts here.
• How is Michigan preparing for MSU? Head butts and practicing 'controlled anger'
• Associated Press: Mark Dantonio's passion for Michigan-Michigan State rivalry is clear
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
• Michigan veterans know their legacy is on the line against Michigan State
• Denard Robinson has been brilliant and flirted with disaster, but the Wolverines are glad he's on their side
• We asked which special game-day uniform fans prefer: Michigan State's Pro Combat Series uniform it will wear against Michigan or the "legacy" uniform that the Wolverines wore against Notre Dame. Here are photo galleries of each: Michigan | Michigan State.
Our colleagues over at MLive.com have been busy producing plenty of good content from the Michigan State camp this week. Here is some of the best:
Associated Press capsule
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Michigan State is trying for its fourth consecutive victory over Michigan, something the Spartans haven't accomplished since 1959-62. The unbeaten Wolverines have ascended the national rankings under new coach Brady Hoke, but their schedule has been favorable so far. A win in East Lansing would establish Michigan as a definite threat to win the Big Ten title.
KEY MATCHUP: Michigan QB Denard Robinson vs. Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy. Michigan State has the nation's top-ranked defense, led by Worthy, who has a tattoo displaying a Spartan stomping on a Wolverine. The Spartans will have to chase Robinson around this weekend. The elusive Michigan quarterback is one of the nation's most exciting players and will be eager to avenge last year's 34-17 loss to Michigan State.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Michigan: WR Junior Hemingway. Michigan State's defensive front has proven it can pressure the passer, but if Robinson can buy time, he has a big-play threat to throw to. Hemingway is averaging 26.1 yards per reception this season. Michigan State: RB Le'Veon Bell. Splitting time with Edwin Baker, Bell has been Michigan State's most productive rusher so far this season. The Spartans have had issues with their offensive line, but when they're running the ball effectively, they're tough to beat.
FACTS & FIGURES: The team with the most productive running game has won 38 of the last 41 meetings between the teams. During its current three-game winning streak in the series, Michigan State has outrushed Michigan 613-274. ... Michigan won six straight in the series before its current skid. ... Kirk Cousins is trying to become the first Michigan State starting QB to win three straight games over Michigan. ... The Wolverines are averaging a Big Ten-best 257 yards rushing per game.
Around the Big Ten
• The AnnArbor.com staff is predicting Big Ten games this year. You can play along by voting for your own winner of each game before noon today.
• Indiana at Wisconsin, noon, ESPN2. (Preview)
• Purdue at Penn State, noon, BTN. (Preview)
• Ohio State at Illinois, 3:30 p.m., ABC (Preview)
• Northwestern at Iowa, 7 p.m., BTN. (Preview)
• Idle: Minnesota, Nebraska.