Coming off the heels of a close defeat to a high-octane, uptempo offense to Utah State, the Michigan State football squad has another challenge in the desert.
The Spartans face off against Arizona State at the Sun Devil Football Stadium in Tempe, Arizona at 10:45 p.m. (7:45 p.m. local time) on Saturday night.
While that sounds like the time of day that the temperature will start to cool down, estimated forecast at the time of kickoff is around 100 degrees.
As someone from Michigan who has stayed in Phoenix for an extended period of time; there is no getting used to the heat, let alone quickly. It does not matter what kind of simulated environments, exercises or practices Head Coach Mark Dantonio has put the Spartans through, nothing compares to those temperatures.
It presents the Spartans with unique challenges for a Big Ten team.
Fans should expect substitutions on offense to be frequent, while the Arizona State offense will do its best to limit the defense’s ability to substitute.
The Sun Devils Head Coach Herm Edwards saw how the Spartans fared against the uptempo-style that Utah State runs. Edwards will try to take advantage of the exhausted players trying to come off the field and try to draw an illegal substitution penalty.
Dantonio also has to adjust the game plan for his running backs. LJ Scott carried the ball 23 times last week, grinding out 84 yards. That does not seem like an ideal or realistic situation for this week’s game. Scott should max out at 20 carries, with Connor Heyward picking up some of the slack with another 10-15 rushes.
For Michigan State to play its best, they both need to maximize their touches by breaking tackles and fighting for extra yardage.
The show I expect Felton Davis III, Cody White and Darrell Stewart Jr. to put on against the ASU secondary, as well as Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry vs the Spartans defense, should have highlight reels as wide as the Arizona desert.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.