Michigan Football restored order in a series that had run amok on them the past 4 years with a 12-10 victory over Michigan State. The win snapped a 4-game winning streak for MSU in the rivalry, gave Michigan their 900th career victory, and brought the Paul Bunyan Trophy back home. I’ll start off by saying I was way off in predicting a 38-13 win. It was tough sledding on offense for both teams and the Spartans defense played a heckuva game.
In the end it was 4 Michigan field goals, 3 from Brendan Gibbons and 1 by Matt Wile, that secured the hard fought victory for the Wolverines. Gibbons connected on field goals of 24 and 21 yards before knocking the game-winner through from 38 yards with 5 seconds left on the clock. Matt Wile, who was designated by Brady Hoke as Michigan’s kicker on long attempts, drilled his first career field goal from 48 yards out in the 2nd quarter.
The Michigan State defense did what they had done the past two years and bottled up Denard Robinson for most of the game. However, when they needed him most, Robinson delivered. With Michigan trailing 10-9 and just 18 fateful seconds left on the clock, the Wolverines were facing second and 11 from the MSU 41 yard line. Robinson bought some time in the pocket and rifled a 20 yard pass to Drew Dileo to set Michigan up for the game-winning kick from the 21 yard line. Robinson finished the day with 96 yards rushing and was 14-29 for 163 yards.
Dileo finished the game with 4 receptions and a game-high 92 receiving yards.
Michigan’s defense bottled up Le’Veon Bell, holding him to 68 yards on 26 carries (2.6 ypc). The Spartans scored the lone touchdown of the game on their opening drive of the second half. “I think our guys did a nice job, the guys inside, Will Campbell and Quinton (Washington), and our linebackers, and Craig Roh,” Brady Hoke said in the post game presser. “The way the linebackers got to the football, we had good support. I think Greg (Mattison) had a really good scheme against some personnel groups that helped us get our safeties involved a little bit more, but he’s a big back and usually he’s going forward, so we wanted to finish the game and finish every play through the whistles, making sure we were getting to the ball and helping guys up and all of that stuff, but it was a lot of fun.”
Sophomore linebackers Desmond Morgan and Jake Ryan led the charge for the Wolverines defense. Morgan finished with a game-high 11 tackles, Ryan notched 10 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.
The game was a dogfight and the stats reflect just how evenly matched these two teams were. Each team had 16 first downs. Michigan outgained Michigan State 326 yards to 304. The Spartans led in time of possession 31:26 to 28:34. Michigan was 5 of 15 on third downs and MSU was 6 of 17. Michigan State punted 7 times for 290 yards, Michigan punted 7 times for 295 yards. The Spartans were flagged 7 times for 50 yards, the Wolverines 6 times for 55 yards. The two areas where Michigan held a clear advantage; they out-rushed the Spartans 188 to 122 and the Wolverines were 4-4 on field goal attempts while MSU was 1-2.
“It feels pretty good,” Jordan Kovacs said when asked after the game how it felt to get the win against MSU. “Like Denard (Robinson) said, you’ve got to tip your hat to those guys. Obviously, they were struggling a little bit coming in, but we knew it was going to be a dog fight — that’s what the Michigan State game is year in and year out. They have tough defense and they pound the ball on offense. You’ve got to tip your hat to them, but like I said, Michigan won today.”
With the win Michigan improves to 5-2, 3-0 and Michigan State drops to 4-4, 1-3.
The last time Michigan won a game without scoring a touchdown was November 11th 1995 when the beat Purdue 5-0
This was the 5th straight game in which the Michigan defense held the opposition to 13 points or less.