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Keith Gave's Northern Sports Desk

 

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September 22nd, 2017

Moment of reckoning this weekend

for teams from Grayling to Detroit

 

 

By KEITH GAVE

Sports Director

 

Better late than never, summer has arrived at the same time the calendar says it’s autumn. Temperatures in the upper 80s don't make for ideal football weather, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting our local teams with the biggest followings.

 

After a 3-9 disappointment last year, starting the season 2-0 is a good way to win back Spartan fans. Never mind that Michigan State has built that record on the backs of two Mid-America Conference teams.

 

Michigan hasn’t looked particularly dominant in any of its first three victories, but for some reason the pollsters love the Wolverines, pegging them at No. 8 in the land.

 

And our lovable Lions have defied all expectations by winning their first two games – and already the bandwagon is getting crowded.

 

Oh, and the Grayling Vikings have been dominant, at times, in building a 4-0 record to start this Friday night lights campaign.

 

But one quick glance at the upcoming schedules for each of these teams, and it’s easy to conclude this is an early moment of reckoning for every one of them.

 

Dress lightly, drink plenty of water and buckle up for what should be an interesting weekend of football at every level.

 

The envelope, please:

 

Michigan State (2-0) vs. Notre Dame (2-1)

Saturday, 8 p.m.

At Spartan Stadium, East Lansing

TV/Radio: FOX

Line: Notre Dame minus 3.5

 

The young Michigan State defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown this season, but that will change against a Fighting Irish offense led by junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who is a load. He rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns at Boston College last weekend. The Spartans should present their own set of challenges to the Notre Dame defense with an attack led by quarterback Brian Lewerke’s arm – and his legs. Both teams are deadly in the red zone. Michigan State is 7-8 scoring when it gets the ball inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Notre Dame has scored on all its red-zone trips.

 

Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Michigan State 27

 

--

 

No. 8 Michigan (3-0) vs. Purdue (2-1)

Saturday, 4 p.m.

At Ross-Aide Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana

TV/Radio: FOX, WQON, Q100.3-FM, Grayling

Line: Michigan minus-10

 

A 10-point spread seems like an awful lot, even for the No. 8 Wolverines against a team with a recent history like Purdue. The Boilermakers were supposed to be drastically improved on the offensive side of the ball with the first-year coach Jeff Brohm coming over from Western Kentucky, where his team averaged just under 45 points per game over three seasons. But it’s been Purdue’s defense that has been the more impressive – especially going to Columbia for a 35-3 “upset” of SEC delegate Missouri. If the Wolverines are to win this game, let alone cover, they’ll have to turn around their red-zone misadventures. They’ve scored just one touchdown in 10 trips inside their opponent’s 20.

 

Prediction: Michigan 23, Purdue 19

 

--

 

Detroit (2-0) vs. Atlanta (2-0)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

At Ford Field, Detroit

TV/Radio: FOX, WQON, Q100.3-FM, Grayling

Line: Atlanta minus-3

 

The Lions’ defense has pretty much had its way against two wildly inferior offensive lines trying to protect aging quarterbacks. A true test comes Sunday against one of the best offensive lines in the game – which probably has a lot to do with why the Falcons are one of the most prolific scoring teams in the NFL. They averaged nearly 34 points per game in representing the NFC in the Super Bowl in February – a game they should have won. The Lions are doing it with the offense, too, after coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spent the off-season studying how Atlanta scored all those points. Matthew Stafford, starting off like a bona fide MVP candidate, leads the NFL with six touchdown passes. This is one of the premier games on the league’s schedule this week and should tell us a lot about both teams – especially Detroit.

 

Prediction: Atlanta 24, Detroit 23

 

--

 

Grayling (4-0) at Boyne City (4-0)

Two of Northern Michigan’s most dynamic offenses meet in a battle of titans tonight, with the winner getting an early foothold in a highly competitive conference race. Boyne scored 97 points in its first two games, but only 33 points in its next two, largely because of a couple of key injuries. Grayling has averaged more than 48 points a game. This has every indication of being a wild, high-scoring affair, and only a potentially dangerous heat index might slow these teams a bit.

Prediction: Grayling 45, Boyne City 42

 

 

 

  --- ARCHIVES ---
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

-  June 27th,2017, Red Wings draft strategy baffling; Pistons fill big need with Kennard

 

-  June 23rd, 2017, Holland, Wings are big losers after this week’s Vegas expansion draft

 

-  June 20th, 2017, Ch-Ch-Changes are coming, and the Tigers are not alone

 

-  June 12th, 2017: When the Red Wings finally brought home Stanley Cup

 

-  JUNE 6TH, 2017: Tigers begin June surge while other Detroit clubs prepare to make news, too 

 

-  May 30, 2017: Tigers hitting critical stretch drive early this season: Win now or else

 

-  May 24, 2017: Now we know what's ailing the Tigers, and it ain't pitching

 

-  May 19, 2017: MAILBAG; You've got Questions, We've got Answers ... 

 

-  May 16, 2017: The Masters of Relief Pitching Endure ... 

 

-  May 8, 2017:  Tigers' GM Al Avila Faces Huge Crisis ...

 

-  May 5, 2017:  Red Wings Amongst the Losers in the NHL Draft ... 

 

-   May 3, 2017: Lions Tap into more character with first-round pick Davis 

 

-  April 27, 2017: Can "Santa" Quinn deliver again as Lions Head to Draft.....

 

-  April 24, 2017:  In a Moment of Inspiration When The Tigers Need it Most ... 

 

-  April 21, 2017: Hall of Fame needs to recognize one more...

 

-  April 17, 2017:  No Yzerman or Gallant to Rescue Wings...

 

-  April 13, 2017:  As The Joe is Set to Become a Pile of Dust ... 

 

-  April 10, 2017:  A Voice That Refuses to be Stifled Can Use Our Help in Epic Battle ...  

 

-  April 3, 2017: All the Experts are Wrong; Tigers will be good this year ...

 

-  March 31, 2017: Red Wings 25 Year Playoff Streak Something To Behold....

 

-  March 28, 2017:  While Pistons waive the white towel, Red Wings Show Self Pride...

 

-  March 23, 2017:  Red Wings Expected to Fire Blashill ... 

 

-  March 21, 2017: (Article Untitled)

 

-  March 17, 2017: Our Cups Runneth over with Memories of The Joe...

 

-  March 13, 2017:  Enjoy Wolverines Fairy-Tale ...

 

-  March 6, 2017:  As Big Ten Tournament Begins...

 

-  March 4, 2017:  Tigers to Scatter as Spring Training is Interrupted...

 

-  March 2, 2017:  Wings rebuild under way after stockpiling 5 Draft picks ...

 

-  February 24, 2017:  Pistons Follow Tigers' Lead and Stand a Pat at Trade Deadline; Red Wings Next...

 

-  February 22, 2017:   Inspired by Late Owner, can Wings and Tigers Deliver a Memorable Ending...

 

-  February 17, 2017:  ... Highlight Uncertainty of NHL Draft.

 

-  February 13, 2017:  "Pizza Guy" Mike Ilitch, Always Kept Fan Happy ...

 

-  February 11, 2017:  Tigers Pitchers Set to Head to Lakeland for Spring Training ... 

 

-  February 7, 2017:  Good Teams Make Own Breaks, but Patriots got Two Stunners...

 

-  February 3, 2017:  Super Bowl Pools ...

 

-  February 1, 2017:  Mr. Holland's Opus with Three Goalies...

 

-  January 26, 2017:  Red Wings are not alone amongst once great teams at the bottom ... 

 

-  January 24, 2017:  Life is a bowl of bubbles for local sports fans ...

 

-  January 23, 2017:  Wings GM Holland still has a few options...

 

-  January 17, 2017:  Tigers Slumber through the offseason; Is long expected change still coming?... 

 

-  January 13, 2017:  For Red Wings Fans its time to learn how the NHL Draft Lottery works ... 

 

-  January 6, 2017:  Lions Kicking Out Some Deafening Jams Preparing to Invade Seattle ... 

 

-  January 3, 2017:  It's January and there is still football in the "D" ...

 

-  December 31, 2016:  Lions must prove themselves against the Packers ...

 

-  December 29, 2016: All is right as Wings Honor 1997 Red Wings

 

-  December 23, 2016:  Lions vs. Cowboys, a precursor to things to come?

 

-  December 20, 2016: Lions still control their fate ...

 

-  December 19, 2016: Weather Injuries Threaten Lions' threaten run of wins....

 

-  December 14, 2016:  Nothing is certain yet, but Lions are 1 and 0 in most important ... 

 

-  December 9, 2016: WARNING! Anything goes in Lions-Bears Rivalry

 

-  December 5, 2016:  Detroit Lios Didn't Quite Punch Their Playoff Ticket 

 

-  December 3, 2016:  Lions Might be in Drivers Seat but ... 

 

-  December 2, 2016:  Hockey's New Fixation with Numbers in Inexplicable Casualties ... 

 

-  November 28, 2016: Michigan-Ohio State: Preemininent Rivalry ... 

 

-  November 22, 2016: Downtown Detroit wins big as Pistons Announce Homecoming...

 

-  November 18, 2016:  A Model Argument:  Verlander got Robbed...

 

-  November 14, 2016:  Lions and Red Wings Toy with Expectations ... 

 

-  November 11,  2016:  Howard's Brilliance, Mrazek flops ...

 

-  November 7, 2016: Stafford, Prater, keeping us tuned into the Lions ...

 

-  November 4, 2016:  Cubs Indians Game 7...

 

-  November 2, 2016: Red Wings Know What Needs Fixing ... 

 

-  October 28, 2016: Players Answered Houghton Lake for the second shot at Roscommon in Playoffs...

 

-  October 21, 2016:  Close Cousins: Skins QB vs Stafford ... 

 

-  October 13, 2016: History Shows not give up on Red Wings Playoff hopes ... 

 

-  October 11, 2016:  Happy Thanksgiving Canada! ... 

 

-  October 7, 2016:  For Detroit Sports Fans, Hope is a Muscle as their teams grapple with issues ... 

 

-  October 3, 2016:  Baseball, football seasons effectively over within hours in Detroit ... 

 

-  September 29, 2016:  Former Spartan Hoyer Eyes Reunion with the Lions ...

 

-  September 27, 2016: Party at Comerica, Tigers not Invited....

 

-  September 23, 2016:  Red Wings Head to Camp With More Questions Than Answers...

 

-  September 19, 2016:  Same Old Lions? Not Quite....

 

-  September 12, 2016:  September's Shameful Surrender...

 

-  September 9, 2016: Who knows what to expect from this Lions' season ... 

 

-  September 7, 2016:  Lions and Tigers and Playoff OH MY ...

 

-  September 1, 2016:  Jonesin' for a special moment in a very long season ... 

 

-  August 29, 2016:  Good Sports: When the Dog Days of our Lives have a golden hue...

 

-  August 25, 2016: Tigers maddening, wonderful ride to continue through the week ... 

 

-  August 23, 2016:  Ugly Americans Steal Feelgood headlines from worthy Olympians...

 

-  August 17, 2016:  Dombrowski gone but not forgotten ... 

 

-  August 16, 2016:  Sports Fans, these are doggone good days ... 

 

-  August 10, 2016:  Ausmus overcomes pitching woes ... 

 

-  August 8, 2016: While Tigers are riding high, brass deals with a pitching headache...

 

-  August 2, 2016: Tigers GM Al Avila stands pat at MLB deadline ... 

 

-  July 28, 2016:  Homegrown paddler living in Alaska compares Iditarod to Marathon...

 

-  July 25, 2016:  With no big plans for trade deadline The Tigers, Ready to throw in the towel...

 

-  July 21, 2016: Don't be fooled VIP for grueling spectator race hasn't changed ... 

 

-  July 18, 2016:  Orr: "our game has become dangerous"...

 

-  July 14,  2016:  Next two weeks will fix Tigers' fate...

 

-  July 12, 2016: A weeping nation needs its sports stars more than ever...

 

-  July 8, 2016: Tigers' Ian Kinsler not an Allstar?

 

-  July 7, 2016: Wings' Mrazek seeking arbitration could make a difficult summer more challenging...

 

-  July 1, 2016: Red Wings Shore up the Middle by landing Nielson ... 

 

June 30, 2016:  With Priority 1 Free Agent...

 

-  June 27, 2016:   After Dumping Datsyuk...

 

-  June 23, 2016:  Red Wings head North again ...

 

-  June 16, 2016:  Lions offer more than just hope... 

 

-  June 10, 2016:  A tribute to Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe.

 

-  June 9, 2016:  Tigers finally have their swagger back.... 

 

-  June 6, 2016:  Muhammad Ali Tribute 

 

-  June 2, 2016: ... There's a lot to like about these Tigers.

 

-  May 31, 2016:  Red Wings troubled with Russian Radulov...

 

-  May 26, 2016:  ...The Joy of Baseball and Need for a Father's Approval

 

-  May 23, 2016:  Tigers show signs of escaping the abyss...

 

-  May 16, 2016: "What I Worry"? Ausmus still on the job...

 

-  May 9, 2016:  Tigers' Ausmus knows he has a target on his back ... 

 

-  May 5, 2016:  Get Over it, Illitches Can Call Arena Whatever They Want...

 

-  May 2, 2016:  Lion's GM, Quinn, drafts to rebuild franchise...

 

-  April 29, 2016:  Lions optimistic heading into the draft...

 

-  April 21, 2016:  Datsyuk's last day epitomize end of a Red Wings era....

 

-  April 18, 2016: Red Wings Coach Makes Alright Moves...

 

-  April 15, 2016:  Have Fun While You Can...

 

-  April 11, 2016: Red Wings and Pistons make the playoffs...

 

-  April 8, 2016: Red Wings need to address inexperienced coaching staff

 

-  April 6, 2016: Sports Writers So Called Experts ... By:  JC

 

-  April 4, 2016: Frigid Opening to Baseball's opening...

 

-  March 28, 2016:  Happy Birthday Mr. Hockey....

 

-  March 24, 2016:  A River Runs Through Us... 

 

-  March 21, 2016, Spartans shocked....

 

-  March 17, 2016: In an hour of postseason peril, Wings' captain, Zetterberg, needs to step up ... 

 

- March 14, 2016:  Surprise- Beilein's Wolverines Join Izzo in the Big Tournament....

 

- March 8, 2016:  No regrets here regarding my Heisman snub of Peyton Manning...

 

-March 7, 2016: Mrazek falters again....

 

- March 3, 2016.  Amped up Wings prepare for old time rivalry...

 

-March 1, 2016: Wings stand pat at the deadline; Howard steals two points in Dallas...

 

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