Kurtis Drummond, left, and Darqueze Dennard crunch Michigan's Drew Dileo during last year's game in Ann Arbor. Drummond and Dennard are back this year; Dileo might be out due to injury. (Leon Halip / Getty Images)
Ann Arbor – It's as simple as this – Michigan's playmaking offense versus Michigan State's dominating defense.
At least that's how Todd McShay, an ESPN college football and NFL draft analyst, sees things heading into the Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
"There's a significant gap in terms of (Michigan State's) defense, but obviously Michigan has more playmakers on the offensive side," McShay said during a conference call Tuesday.
"I think it sets up: Michigan's offense versus Michigan State's defense. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better unit-versus-unit matchup in college football, really in any week, but certainly this week in that game."
McShay praised the Michigan State defense, which is ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense and rush defense.
"This group is obviously outstanding," McShay said. "You could argue it’s the best group in terms of the way it's playing as a unit in all of college football. I've been really impressed how stout they’ve been versus the run, how they've seemed to answer the bell consistently when their backs are against the wall and, honestly, how much they've had to be on the field and how many bad situations they've been put in."
Linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, cornerback Darqueze Dennard and safety Isaiah Lewis, all seniors, will be drafted, McShay said, adding that's not even considering players who aren't seniors.
McShay is high on Michigan senior left tackle Taylor Lewan, who opted to return for a fifth season rather than head to the NFL after last year.
Lewan currently is ranked No. 9 on McShay's draft board.
"I think he's one of he premiere players in this class," McShay said. "I like him. I know he's not the most athletic tackle but there are just some guys who know the angles and have the effort and have the toughness and know the technique and do all the little things and execute their assignments.
"When you've got a guy like Lewan that's done it at a very high level and had the success against the premiere pass rusher the past two years in (South Carolina's Jadeveon) Clowney -- he did a really good job against Clowney in that game. If you watch that game, I would give the slight edge to Lewan in terms of who won the battle. I have (Lewan) nine overall. He's certainly belongs in the top 20 picks."