Film Review: Iowa vs MSU (and applicability to MSU vs UM)

AP Photo/Al Goldis

I got to rewatch the MSU-Iowa game in some detail. Here's my takeaways with some brevity (most of this comes from twitter with some edits, so sorry for it being poorly written.


  • MSU DL did great job most of the game dealing with the Iowa stretch game. Did a great job getting helmet playside and limiting playside gaps 
  • A bit of Iowa's success on ground game off gap schemes where DL overcommitted to what they thought was stretch; not really replicable for UM 
  • Does mean something to UM tho: MSU is great at identifying/defending tendency. Need to strategically break tendency to get them out of pos (this is a common thing for all of Dantonio's good defenses, well schooled) 
  • LBs/Safeties still flow very hard. Pursuit mostly disciplined but you can catch them out of gaps and can catch open grass away from action 
  • And you can still play formation games to get matchups you want in secondary. Tight splits/TEs = knob adj = Safety on receiver; etc. 
  • I think Morrisey matched up well with TEs. Michigan is going to be much better served attacking with a WR as he's the weakness of the backfield. I think both safeties are relative weak spots in coverage and can be exploited. Morrisey more so, but I think other safeties also left some good openings; need to be smart on how WRs/TEs are deployed in formations
  • New aspect, MSU plays a lot of C1 especially on obvious pass down. QBs need to be smart about reading safeties before going into progression 
  • Can still get favorable matchups, throw away from help, but need to understand cov to get into progression. Need protection to give time. MSU DBs not quite a good in technique in C1; obviously not base, but allow receivers to get leverage at times when they aren't really getting the help they expect
  • I think UM OL will be already against MSU DL on standard downs for most part. Limited games when on pace. Once behind chains, lots of games 
  • MSU will likely break tendency a bit based on UM film. UM needs to be prepared to have hots in place to get receivers free in 2nd level 
  • UM needed to clean up communication issues on OL during bye week or &long will result in heavy, quick pressure, especially from edge


  • W/ MSU on offense, OL lost leverage a lot. Was biggest problem for O all day. Lose leverage and quit moving feet. 
  • Mostly on interior but not limited to it. Iowa DTs able to get into body and control OL at LOS and that clogged up inside runs 
  • The interior looks strong enough, not consistently pushed back, but lost leverage and lose ability to drive. Need to drive w/ gap scheme 
  • Still don't like the hand placement of some MSU interior OL. They love to hug, not punch. Results in little first pop to get D off balance 
  • One player in particular I'm consistently surprised doesn't get more holding calls. Consistently outside frame of body, hugging not driving. Allen had a pretty rough day as well as he got deposited into the backfield a few times and made pulls difficult; Jarvis had some issues with how/where to pull too, which is expected for a FR
  • As far as Lewerke, need to get him to reset his feet. If feet are set and he's releasing w technique, he is very accurate. 
  • When you get into his feet or force him to reset, technique breaks down, accuracy gets v inconsistent, arm strength suffers a lot 
  • If you can get interior pressure and not let him escape immediately up field, it will be very tough for him 
  • Interior OL pretty stout at preventing great push. OTs give some ground but mirror well. Should be an interesting match up


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