No. 7 Michigan (4-0) hosts Michigan State (3-1) in the Big House this Saturday, and don’t be surprised if it’s a low-scoring game. Michigan ranks 58th nationally in scoring offense (31.5 points per game), while Michigan State (24.5) ranks 96th.
Points, needless to say, will be at a premium.
“We could definitely see a defensive battle in the Big House,” Fox Sports college football analyst A.J. Hawk said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It is kind of an intriguing game, and I’m glad to see Michigan State kind of rebound from the season they had last year. Mark Dantoio was my D-coordinator at Ohio State for a couple of years, and he’s an absolute defensive genius, I believe. But we don’t really know what we’re going to get with Michigan’s offense. They don’t seem to be super explosive, but their defense plays great. I definitely look for it to be a close game. Michigan State will be ready. Trust me. Coach Dantonio will have those guys ready. That’s one of the most interesting games this weekend.”
Hawk, 33, was a two-time All-American at Ohio State. The Big House remains one of his favorite stadiums.
“There’s so many great stadiums in the Big Ten, but the Big House is kind of weird,” he said. “When you first walk in, it doesn’t look and feel nearly as big as you would think because it’s one of those places where the field is dug down to where the stands don’t rise as high. Penn State, if you go there, it’s like and erector set built straight up in the air. The Horseshoe is pretty tall and closed in. But the Big House obviously being in a big bowl, it’s amazing. I went there my sophomore year and we got beat by a great Michigan team. That place was absolutely on fire. Luckily my senior year we were able to go back and get a close victory.
“But it’s a special place,” Hawk continued. “It has that feel to it. That’s why I love college football. These stadiums have this rich tradition and history where you can walk in, even in the locker room, and you can almost feel some of the old-timers that were there back in the day way before you. You don’t find that too much in the NFL. That’s why I think it’s awesome, and I would definitely put the Big House up in that category.”
Saturday’s kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET.