Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.
U-M hopes the stadium isn’t colored in red on Saturday.
While there will be countless story lines that will be analyzed like crazy all week for the Ohio State-Michigan showdown, there might be one worth following in the stands.
How much will the Big House be colored in red for the game?
In the past, Ohio State fans have traveled very well to Ann Arbor and East Lansing, with vidid images of them lining up many rows deep after the game and singing “Carmen, Ohio” alongside Ohio State players after road victories over U-M and MSU.
With the stakes as high as ever for Saturday, will OSU fans have a harder time trying to buy tickets from U-M fans? Did the low expectations for U-M at the start of the season prompt more Ohio State fans to buy more tickets for the game when single-game tickets went on sale during the summer?
It could definitely be a concern for U-M officials all week.
We’ll see come Saturday just how much of a home-field edge Michigan will have in its own stadium.
The prep state final matchups are set.
The prep state championship games in all eight divisions will take place on Friday and Saturday at Ford Field.
The even-number divisions will be held on Friday, while the odd-numbered divisions will take place Saturday.
Here are the matchup in all eight divisions.
Rochester Adams (13-0) vs. Belleville (12-1), 1 p.m. Saturday - Adams won the Division 2 state championship in 2003, but will make its first trip to the finals since that year. Belleville is making its first trip to Ford Field after losing in the semifinals the previous three years.
Traverse City Central (12-1) vs. Warren De La Salle (12-0), 1 p.m. Friday - De La Salle lost in the state championship game last year and enters as the favorite, but Traverse City Central is also powerful behind Notre Dame commit Josh Burnham.
DeWitt (12-1) vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (12-1) - 7:30 p.m. Saturday - The last game of the weekend could be the best. DeWitt is the defending state champion and pretty loaded once again, but King has a sought-after quarterback recruit in Dante Moore, leading a talented roster.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (13-0) vs. Chelsea (13-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday - Chelsea has been ranked No. 1 in the state all year, but Unity Christian was mighty impressive in a 58-8 win over Edwardsburg in the semifinals.
Marine City (13-0) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (13-0), 4:30 p.m. Saturday - Catholic Central is looking to repeat as champion, while Marine City is looking for its first title since winning Division 4 in 2013.
Warren Michigan Collegiate (11-2) vs. Lansing Catholic (12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday - Michigan Collegiate is making its first-ever finals appearance, while Lansing Catholic won the Division 5 title in 2019.
Lawton (13-0) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (13-0), 10 a.m. Saturday - Lawton knocked out perennial power Jackson Lumen Christi in the semifinals, and will have to beat another in the final. Pewamo-Westphalia is seeking its fourth title in six years.
Beal City (12-1) vs. Hudson (13-0), 10 a.m. Friday - Both of these teams are no stranger to Ford Field. Hudson won the Division 7 title in 2010, while Beal City is making its fourth finals trip since 2012.
Reality sets in for MSU, and it could get worse.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most surprised, what took place against Ohio State probably registered a minus-5 among many MSU fans who knew how bad the matchup was against Ohio State in the first place.
But for the MSU faithful who were thinking all along, “It’s OK, we’ll still finish 10-2 by beating Penn State,” then Saturday’s beatdown in Columbus provided more bad news.
Leading receiver Jayden Reed and starting safety Xavier Henderson both were in street clothes on the sideline in the second half after suffering injuries.
The biggest reason why MSU has overcome its horrific pass defense all year is due to its supreme skill players, but if Reed can’t go and joins Jalen Nailor (hand injury) on the sideline, MSU will be down two of their big advantages at the skill positions.
That could be big trouble against a Penn State team that has underachieved, but still has talent, especially on defense.
A loss to Penn State would eliminate MSU from a New Year’s Six bowl and likely place the Spartans in Florida at either the Citrus or Outback Bowl.