December 28, 2012

Matchups: TCU Defense vs. MSU Offense continues our coverage of TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Wednesday I posted five things that the TCU defense can do to improve their chances against Michigan State. Today I am taking a look at how the Frogs defense matches up with the Spartans offense.

We are using relative grades on a scale of 0-100, with 50 being dead even. For example, as you see below, the relative grade for the TCU defensive line against the MSU offensive line is a 47. That means Michigan State has a slight advantage.

TCU defensive line vs. MSU offensive line

This is one of, if not the most important matchup in this game. The Spartans want to pound the ball on the ground. If Fields, Maponga, Hunter, and the rest cannot control the line of scrimmage, TCU will most likely get beat. The Michigan State offensive line averages a little over 304 pounds, the Frogs defensive line averages 279. I think we all remember what happened last time TCU faced off against a Big Ten team who had a lot of confidence in their offensive line and running game…

Relative Grade: 47

TCU front seven vs. MSU offensive line

The defensive line isn't the only group responsible for slowing down the Michigan State run game, the linebackers and safeties will have to pitch in also. This is where I think the Frogs have a slight advantage, especially with their speed. It is hard to block something you can't get your hands on. When you bring Cain, Hasley, and Carter into the equation, it tips the scale to the Frogs advantage.

Relative Grade: 51

TCU secondary vs. MSU wide receivers

This is where TCU has the biggest advantage on defense. The Frogs intercepted 21 passes this season which was best in the Big 12. Michigan State only averages 218 passing yards per game and MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell only averaged 6.0 yards per pass this season. It will be a big mistake for the Spartans if they try to test the Frogs secondary.

Relative Grade: 60

TCU linebackers vs. MSU running backs

Although Le'Veon Bell is known for his running ability, he also caught 30 passes out of the backfield this season. The Frogs linebackers will have to pay attention to Bell at all times. On running plays the linebackers must step up and fill the gaps. Outside of Bell, the Spartans don't have much else. Larry Caper only had 18 carries for 108 yards this season. Nick Hill had 20 rushes for 49 total yards.

Relative Grade: 49

TCU defensive line vs. MSU QB Andrew Maxwell

Michigan State allows almost two sacks per game. The Frogs average a little over two sacks per game. If the Frogs can get pressure on Maxwell when MSU actually attempts to pass, it could disrupt their offense even more.

Relative Grade: 52

TCU secondary vs. MSU QB Andrew Maxwell

Jason "The Predator" Verrett. Does anything else need to be said? Maxwell has thrown nine interceptions this season. If he doesn't want to increase that total, he needs to be very careful with the football.

Relative Grade: 78

TCU defense overall vs. MSU offense overall

TCU is known for their defense. Every season they show up and perform at the highest level. This season is no different. This game will be no different. The Frogs have always had success slowing down the run and I don't expect anything different on Saturday night.

Relative Grade: 53

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