Michigan State Football: 5 things that must happen for Penn State upset

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 04: Felton Davis III #18 of the Michigan State Spartans battles for yards next to Brandon Smith #47 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 4, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 04: Felton Davis III #18 of the Michigan State Spartans battles for yards next to Brandon Smith #47 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 4, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 04: Trace McSorley #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions throws a first half touchdown pass behind Raequan Williams #99 of the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 4, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 04: Trace McSorley #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions throws a first half touchdown pass behind Raequan Williams #99 of the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 4, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

2. Keeping Trace McSorley in the pocket

If there’s one thing Trace McSorley does exceptionally well, it’s slip out of the pocket and pick up big yards with his legs. He’s been doing it all season, rushing for over 400 yards and six touchdowns on an impressive 6.2 yards per carry — you don’t often see that type of line from a quarterback.

McSorley is on pace to hit 1,000 rushing yards for the season with at least 10 touchdowns and no one would really be surprised.

What the Spartans must do is force him to stay in the pocket and even place a spy on him — one of the linebackers can assume this role. If the secondary can shut down the intermediate routes and the line gets in his face quickly like they have been doing to opponents when given more than a second or two, the Spartans can force some costly mistakes.

Keeping McSorley in the pocket and forcing him to throw (he has not been accurate) rather than tuck and run will work in Michigan State’s favor.

That might mean keeping one of the ends at bay as to not over-pursue and create a huge running lane for the senior quarterback. A spy linebacker is almost a sure thing here.