Michigan Football was over-matched in every facet of the game during a 29-6 loss at Michigan State on Saturday. The Wolverines could not get anything going offensively and were completely demoralized by the end of the game. With the loss, Michigan drops to 6-2, 2-2. Meanwhile, Michigan State improved to 8-1, 5-0 and played a very impressive game of football. “I think they played awfully well, executed awfully well,” Brady Hoke said in the post game presser. “I don’t think we did.”
Offensive line continues to struggle
Devin Gardner was under duress on every play and was so battered by the Spartans defense, that he couldn’t finish the game. The ground game was a disaster as the Wolverines accumulated -48 rushing yards. Yes, that’s negative 48 rushing yards. Sack yardage contributed to that dreadful total, but the Wolverines running attack was completely eradicated by the Michigan State defense.
“A lot of this game absolutely falls on the offensive line,” Taylor Lewan said. “They ran a bunch of blitzes, a lot of the same blitzes they ran in 2011 – when it came down to it, we couldn’t pick it up. That’s our job.”
Defense bent and ultimately broke
Michigan’s defense held up for about three quarters. However, they were put in tough positions time and time again and eventually gave way to the rising Spartan tide. MSU ended up gaining 394 yards of offense and 142 yards on the ground. As the game continued on, Michigan’s defense seemed to run out of gas. The linebacking corps played well as Joe Bolden and Desmond Morgan racked up 8 tackles each.
What went wrong
Brady Hoke Michigan used their third different starting offensive line combination of the season this week and the group struggled, mightily. The Spartans sacked Gardner seven times and his was hit hard on many other plays.
The offense was only able to gain 168 yards and set a record for the worst rushing performance in school history. When Brendan Gibbons pinballed in a 39 yard field goal, late in the second quarter, the Wolverines were done scoring.
The Spartans best players shined, Darqueze Dennard had 4 tackles, an interception and was tremendous all game long. Shilique Calhoun notched 6 tackles and 3 sacks. Connor Cook was 18-33 passing for 252 yards and two touchdowns (1 rushing).
Michigan’s stars were dimmed by the Green and White frenzy. Taylor Lewan was in the spotlight for his after the whistle activity which included a 15 yard personal foul penalty. Lewan vowed to reporters this week that Michigan would not be bullied.
Devin Gardner was harassed and harangued into a 14-27 passing performance for 210 yards with no touchdowns. Thanks to the seven sacks, Gardner’s rushing numbers were 18 carries for -46 yards.
What happens now?
Michigan was completely dominated by Michigan State and they have a tough road ahead. Up next, they will host Nebraska before back-to-back road games at Iowa and Northwestern. The final game against Ohio State looks like a daunting challenge. There aren’t any easy wins on that docket and it could be a long month of November in Ann Arbor.