ANN ARBOR— It’s been five long years since the Wolverines last defeated the Spartans, and today, Michigan got their mojo back.
The Spartans (4-4, 1-3) fell to the Wolverines (5-2, 3-0) 12-10 in a game that had vintage Michigan vs. Michigan State written all over it.
With :05 remaining in the game, Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons connected on a 38 yard field goal that gave the Wolverines their first victory against MSU since 2007.
Leading up to that, Denard Robinson completed a 20 yard pass to Drew Dileo on 2nd and 11 that put Michigan in winning position with 9 seconds remaining.
Robinson finished the game with a total of 259 yards and an interception. Dileo caught four passes for 92 yards.
With Ohio State not being eligible for bowl season, the Wolverines are the top contenders for the Rose Bowl.
The Spartans now have suffered three Big Ten losses by a total of six points. To add insult to injury, the Spartans fell victim to the Wolverines 900th win in program history.
The Michigan State offense struggled for most of the night as they made minimal big plays. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell had a couple opportunities to connect with his receivers downfield and they failed to do so for the majority of the game.
Maxwell finished with 192 yards on 21-of-34 passing with a touchdown and a fourth quarter interception. The interception was costly as Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs intercepted the Maxwell pass that eventually led to a 9-7 Michigan lead.
Aside from the passing game, MSU had no luck on the ground as Le’Veon Bell had 25 carries for only 68 yards. This is the first time this year that Bell was held under 100 yards rushing when having more than 20 carries.
The Michigan defense was successful in containing Bell and didn’t allow the receivers to make big plays downfield. Senior cornerback J.T. Floyd did a very good job blanketing Michigan State receivers.
However, the Spartans defense was the best unit on the field all game as they held Michigan to four field goals. Even though the defense made a few mistakes late, this loss has to rest on the shoulders of MSU offensive coordinator Dan Roushar.
In almost any game where your defense only gives up 12 points you should be able to find a way to win. The play-calling seemed safe at times and there wasn’t much of a spark coming from the offense.
The biggest spark came for the Spartans when punter Mike Sadler converted on a 26 yard fake punt on 4th and 9. His fake punt led to the Spartans go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.
This loss for the Spartans may be the first of many to come in the near future as they face Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern within the next 30 days.
While a win for Michigan definitely puts them several steps closer to becoming that program that they are historically known to be, let’s not fool ourselves.
Today’s Michigan vs. Michigan State game was a match-up of two mediocre teams. The only difference is that Michigan is heading in the right direction as a program and Michigan State is moving backwards.