BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Staff Reporter
Michigan was coming off of a big win against Northwestern on the road heading into East Lansing this past weekend. The defense was very strong even though they gave up 24 points.
Both teams needed a win. On the side of Michigan State, it was a chance to go 4-0 for the senior class, something that is rarely ever done against big brother. For Michigan, it was a chance for new head coach Brady Hoke to win his first rival game against the Spartans
Unfortunately for theWolverines, things didn’t go their way and they ended up losing for the fourth straight year to the Spartans, 28-14.
The Paul Bunyan Trophy has found its home in East Lansing for the past four years. The Wolverines came into this game ranked as the 11th team in the country; while the Spartans were 23rd.
The first quarter looked like it was going to be a low scoring game after both defenses only allowed one touchdown. Denard Robinson ran the first touchdown of the game on the first possession of the game, 15 yards into the end zone after 10 plays for 80yards and six minutes of time.
The Spartans quickly responded with a touchdown of their own with running back Edwin Baker on a one yard score. Defense was big on both sides forcing both teams to punt on the ensuing possessions.
The first quarter went quickly as did the second quarter. Play quieted for sometime and State stayed up by seven at the half.
The third quarter started out great for Michigan State, scoring on their first possession. Quarterback Kirk Cousins put up a 10-yard passto Keshawn Martin for the touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter.
A longer drive from the Wolverines looked good up until a 10-yard penalty for holding put Michigan at 3rd down and 18, and eventually forced them to punt. They did have a chance to capitalize on a fumble from Baker, recovered by Gordon the following Spartan drive but it was a quick three and out.
Michigan State took control of the game on the next drive and did not look back. Another reception by Martin from Cousins for 13 yards put the Spartans up 21-7 late in the third quarter.
The Wolverines followed up with a drive that stalled out after Robinson went out with an upper body injury and sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner came in. A punt followed on the Spartan 32-yard line but the Wolverine defense held and they forced a Spartan punt.
The first play of the Michigan drive, Robinson came back in and threw a 34-yard reception to Roy Roundtree for the touchdown. Michigan was right back in the game, down by one touchdown, 21-14.
The game seemed toturn a corner and change momentum with a turnover on the first play of the following possession for the Spartans as Martin fumbled the ball with J.T. Floyd recovering it.
After 7 plays, the final play of the drive came down to a fourth down and one yard to go. It was a botched play with Robinson faking a hand-off,and the play was read perfect by the Spartan defense.
Johnny Adams sacked Robinson for a 10-yard loss and turned the ball over. It was a bad call on the side of the Wolverines offense and pretty much cost them the game.
Even though the Spartans went three and out on the following drive, Robinson threw an interception, which was returned by Isaiah Lewis for a 39-yard interception touchdown. The game definitely was over as the score was now 28-14.
Gardner was back in at quarterback but unable do much as the Spartans finished the game with possession and won for the fourth year in a row. In a heated game, the Wolverines only had five penalties for 40 yards while the Spartans had 13 penalties for 124 yards.
Even the turnovers were in Michigan’s favor as they turned it over only once while the Spartans turned it over twice. The first loss came after Robinson was only able to complete nine passes on 24 attempts for 123 yards.
It was a tough game for the Wolverines as they were given every opportunity to win. The offense didn’t produce to the potential they have in the past six games. The Wolverines will look to earn their seventh win of the season once again after their bye week this coming week against the Purdue Boilermakers at home for homecoming week.
The game starts at 12pm at Michigan Stadium on either the Big Ten Network or ESPN (check your local listings).