F There were holes on a handful of running plays for fifth-year senior Fitz Toussaint - sometimes he hit them, sometimes he didn't. He averaged only 2.5 yards per carry. Plain and simple, Michigan knew it couldn't run the ball and came out slinging with redshirt junior Devin Gardner (27 passes). Two, slow developing read option plays sabotaged drives, one a third and two near the 20 that resulted in a field goal and another for a big loss after a Raymon Taylor interception gave the Wolverines momentum. The final number - negative 48 yards, including a 20-yard loss on a high snap - was indicative of the Wolverines' struggles in all areas Saturday.
D+ There were plenty of big plays, including a 58-yard bomb to redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson, a 35-yarder to fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon and a 25 yarder to sophomore Devin Funchess. None of them, however, resulted in a touchdown. There were also five drops (unofficially), including three in a row in one stretch, seven sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner battled, but he was flustered at times - and who could blame him? He held the ball at times and left the pocket too soon at others (where there was a pocket). Overall, though, he was the only reason the Wolverines had a chance to compete. He was 14 for 27 with 210 yards and an interception, but he had a number of passes dropped.
C- The Michigan run stoppers were very good in the first half, especially, limiting MSU running back Jeremy Langford to 21 yards on nine carries. The Wolverines only allowed 28 yards in the third quarter in keeping it relatively close, despite the defense being on the field most of the stanza. It got away from them in the fourth quarter. MSU receiver R.J. Shelton ran for 35 yards on an end around, and Langford finished with 120 yards on 26 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown around the edge in which Taylor misplayed the last line of defense. The Spartans only averaged 3.6 yards per rush, but it was enough to keep the Michigan defense honest to allow quarterback Connor Cook to throw for 252 yards.
D- A broken play on Michigan State's first drive resulted in a 49-yard pass to Trevon Pendleton, giving the Spartans momentum after an impressive opening drive by the Wolverines. That was the only fluke. A 23-yard touchdown over freshman Jourden Lewis and fifth-year senior safety Thomas Gordon changed the momentum of the game, giving the Spartans a 13-6 lead going into the half. That was enough to win. Cook was only sacked once, and that was on a corner blitz by senior Courtney Avery. Taylor's interception could have been a momentum changer, but wasn't, and even the usually steady Blake Countess was thrown over twice for big gains when he didn't find the ball. Cook finished 18 of 33 for 252 yards and a score, missing a couple of open receivers and having a few other passes dropped. He could have easily had a 300-yard day.
B- Distance kicker Matt Wile came up big with a 49-yard field goal in bad weather to open the game, and fifth-year senior Brendan Gibbons added a 39-yarder against the wind that tied it at six in the first half. Wile wasn't great with his punts, but he got the roll on two short kicks - he averaged 40.9 yards per punt. Kick and punt coverage was decent, with the exception of a 36-yard kick return by R.J. Shelton that started with a bobble near the goal line. Sophomore Dennis Norfleet had a 35-yarder among his 100 kick return yards.
D- Michigan had two weeks to prepare for the Spartans, and most of the first half was about what you would have expected - a low scoring, back and forth affair with both teams waiting to see who would blink first. The Wolverines missed a chance to go into the half tied at 6-6 (or better) by botching a third and two deep in MSU territory, resulting in a field goal, and then giving up a long touchdown drive before the half that changed momentum of the game. The Spartans were the better team Saturday, but 29-6 better? Every opponent on the MSU schedule minus Youngstown State played the Spartans tougher in East Lansing, including bottom feeder Purdue. The Michigan offensive line looked overmatched again, there was no semblance of a running game and MSU took advantage of the Wolverines' perceived weaknesses to get what they needed. U-M, meanwhile, failed to score a touchdown in this game for the second straight year.