Latest Team Rankings
Free Rivals Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
November 2, 2013
Wooly Bully! 29-6
EAST LANSING - Behind the nation's top-ranked defense, Michigan State pounded rival Michigan, 29-6, Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
No. 24-ranked Michigan State used 120 yards rushing from Jeremy Langford, including a 40-yarder in the final minutes, and a punishing defensive effort in improving to 8-1 overall and taking control of the Legends Division with a 5-0 conference record.
No. 23-ranked Michigan fell to 6-2 and 2-2 in the Big Ten.
The Spartan defense held Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing, thanks in part to seven sacks. That's the worst rushing total in Michigan football history.
Michigan QB Devin Gardner found success at times passing between the 20-yard lines, but was held to 210 yards overall through the air, on 14 of 27 passing (1 INT).
MSU's Connor Cook was 18 of 33 for 252 yards with 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD and 1 INT.
Senior linebacker Denicos Allen led the Spartan defense with nine tackles and three tackles for loss. Allen had two sacks.
Shilique Calhoun had 2.5 sacks, as did sophomore nickel linebacker Ed Davis.
A humble MSU head coach Mark Dantonio sampled George Perles poetry and teachings in getting the Spartans ready for this year's in-state battle.
"Don't worry about all the things that are being said - just keep your mouth shut," Dantonio said, when asked what message he had for his players as the game approached. "Get ready to play, start the game and finish stronger than when you started. We were going to let the lion out of the cage at 3:30, and that's what happened."
This after the Wolverines had vowed Saturday wouldn't be a repeat of the game in East Lansing in 2011, when Michigan State's physicality was too much for Michigan.
"Two years ago was nothing," Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen said. "It was a lot worse today, and I think they felt it."
Michigan State has won five of the last six meetings with the Wolverines, and this was the Spartans' most lopsided win in the series since 1967.
"We're going to bully people - that's the game of football," Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. "We didn't want any personal fouls - we had one stupid one, I think on special teams at the end - we talked really about not getting any penalties. ... They've got a good football team, but we've got a great football team."
Michigan State entered ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense, and the Spartans looked positively dominating for most of the game. Gardner was sacked four times in the first quarter, and things only got worse for the Wolverines on one drive in the second.
On first down from the Michigan State 49, a shotgun snap sailed over Gardner's head for a loss of 20, as Wolverine center Graham Glasgow caught a case of the yips while MSU showed (another) blitz.
After a sack on third down and a Michigan penalty, the Wolverines finally punted on fourth-and-48.
"A lot of negative yardage plays. There were some pretty good runs once in a while, but when you snap the ball for a 20-yard loss and get sacked I don't know how many times, your yardage part of it isn't very good," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "You put yourself behind the 8-ball, not executing and then you're forced into doing things you don't want to do."
Thanks to the sacks and that bad snap, Michigan finished the first half with minus-41 yards rushing. The Wolverines' best hope was for Gardner to look for big chunks of yardage on deep passes. He completed a few, including a 58-yarder to Jehu Chesson that set up a field goal in the second quarter.
With the score tied at 6-6, Michigan State's offense finally broke through, driving 75 yards on 10 plays for the game's first touchdown. It came on a 14-yard pass from Cook to Bennie Fowler on a pretty post-corner with 23 seconds left in the half.
Fowler's sliding catch came in the same back corner of the end zone where he was unable to hold onto a potential touchdown pass earlier in the quarter.
The second half was more of the same. Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger nailed his third field goal of the day, making it 16-6. The Wolverines were stuck deep in their own territory for much of the third quarter.
Michigan finally caught a break when a Cook pass was intercepted by Michigan corner Raymon Taylor, giving the Wolverines the ball at the Michigan State 41. But that only gave the Spartans another chance to shine on defense.
"We're excited to play, we're excited to go out there," linebacker Max Bullough said. "In those situations, they think they have the advantage. They think they're going to score, it's a momentum change for them. If we go out there and we stuff them, and we keep them out of even scoring a field goal, it's double. It takes away theirs and it gives us momentum."
Gardner lost 5 yards on a blown-up zone read keeper, then Allen sacked him for a loss of 9 on second down. Michigan called a timeout prior to third down, and several Spartans danced to the sideline, motioning for the crowd to make more noise.
Gardner was sacked again on the next play for a loss of 7, leaving the Wolverines punting on fourth-and-31 to start the fourth quarter.
Michigan's previous low point for rushing was in 1962, when the Wolverines were held to minus-46 yards by Minnesota. The Wolverines have now lost 10 straight road games against ranked opponents - the last victory was in 2006 at Notre Dame.
The last team to be held to minus-48 yards rushing was actually Michigan State, which had exactly that total against Alabama in the 2011 Capital One Bowl. Saturday, the Spartans looked like a Crimson Tide level of defense.
This was Michigan State's most lopsided win over Michigan since a 34-0 victory in 1967, right before the Wolverines gained the upper hand in this rivalry and held onto it for about four decades. The Spartans have certainly pushed back lately.
including a 15-game winning streak (7-0 in 2010, 7-0 in 2011, won first game in 2012).