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Miami Hurricanes 2021 Game Preview: Michigan St

Will the Spartans melt under the hot Florida sun in an early season showdown?

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Miami Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Miami will finish a brutal 3 game opening kick to the season taking on the Michigan State Spartans at Noon at Hard Rock Stadium on September 18th. These two teams were supposed to play a year ago in East Lansing, but the game was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. The Spartans are in year two under Mel Tucker, and are still in the transition phase from the previous regime. Michigan St is coming off a 2-5 season although both of their wins were upset specials as they knocked off Michigan and Northwestern.

Miami leads the all-time series 4-0, winning the last meeting 26-20 all the way back in 1989.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Who Are the Spartans on Offense?

Answering this question with the 2020 data is a simple answer. Michigan St was bad in every category in 2020. 118th in scoring offense at just 18ppg, 122nd running the ball with just 91.4ypg, and 109th total offense with 330.3ypg. These numbers would have been offensive in 1985 nevertheless 2020, and by any measure the Spartans were high school bad.

Quarterback is unsettled entering fall camp with two guys battling for the job. Anthony Russo transferred from Temple, while Peyton Thorne had some playing experience, but this battle will not be settled any time soon. The Spartans did pick up an impact transfer at running back with Kenneth Walker III coming over from Wake Forest where he ran for 579 each of his 1st 2 seasons with the Demon Deacons. The Spartans return 4 starters on the offensive line and 2 starters at WR, so just based on experience alone they should move the ball better.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Can They Lock the Canes Down?

For years Michigan St was a salty bunch on defense. They would bring pressure, play bump coverage and try to dictate to your offense how the day was going to go. That was your fathers Spartans and not the group that took the field last season. Sparty was gashed for 35.1PPG which finished 100th in the country. For them to be better they will have to improve across the board as they were sub 50 in every major defensive category. Michigan St lost their best players Naquan Jones, Antjuan Simmons and Shakur Brown so their production will need to be replaced. They do return 7 players on the defense lead by a deep and talented defensive line. Jacob Panasiuk is a 6’4” 250lb senior who will man one end Drew Jordan comes over from Duke to help solidify some depth. MSU will run a 4-2-5 base scheme to Miami’s RPO game should be able to exploit a soft under belly and open some explosives later. The Spartans were gashed for 157.3ypg in Mel Tucker’s 1st season as head coach.


Miami will be battle tested by this point having already played Alabama and Appalachian St to start the year. Michigan St opens @ Northwestern and then follows that up with a game vs Youngstown St before heading to Miami. This is a game Miami should win comfortably. Number 1 it is a noon kick, and typically northern teams do not do well in the Miami heat in early September. Number 2, Michigan St will most likely be the worst of the 1st three opponents the Canes will face. Number 3 Miami is simply more talented across the board and barring a Miami like meltdown the Canes should pick up a win.

Miami will score early, force Michigan St to play catch-up, which their offense cannot do.

Canes 38 Spartans 17