What happened and what mattered in the Michigan 21-7 win over Michigan State?
Michigan 21, Michigan State 7
Michigan had the better team. There was weather. There was a delay. There was a quirky trick play for a score from Michigan State. There were slick conditions for a stretch. There was a tight game late, where Mark Dantonio is supposed to be able to rock Jim Harbaugh. There were more than enough X factor things for Michigan State to do what it normally does against Michigan, but talent overcame all of that.
Even with Rashan Gary out, Michigan had the healthy team, and Michigan State didn’t. Michigan had the defense, and when it absolutely needed it, Michigan State didn’t. Michigan had Devin Bush, Chase Winovich, Shea Patterson, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Michigan State didn’t. Michigan had an offensive line that got the job done, and Michigan State didn’t. Even so, the chances were there for the Spartans to come up with that one big thing to turn it all around, and instead …
Shea Patterson to Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 79-yard touchdown. It was the only time the two hooked up all day, but it was the cathartic moment Wolverine fans needed. It was only 14-7, but that was it. The Wolverine defense wasn’t going to allow anything else, the offensive line took over – Karan Higdon barreled for a tough 144 yards on the day, and now, Big Brother is back.
To be fair, again, Michigan State was missing so many of its key parts, and lost star WR Felton Davis to an Achilles’ tendon injury. Brian Lewerke had absolutely no chance with so many receivers out, and it showed – he completed just 5-of-25 passes for 66 yards. The Spartans completed 7-of-28 yards for 79 yards as a team, with the one good play the Philly play from Darrell Stewart to Lewerke for a touchdown.
LJ Scott was back, but he was bottled up. He ran just ten times for 25 yards and caught a pass for 15 more. There was nothing happening against this swarming Michigan D. However, give the Spartans credit. They were depleted, and they didn’t have the talent compared to the Wolverines, but they were still in it until late.
The Spartans have to bounce back fast with Purdue and its passing game coming to East Lansing. The rest of the schedule isn’t all that bad – outside of the home game against Ohio State – but the injury problem is too massive now. Every game is going to be a grind.
Yeah, Michigan. It really is time to dream big. Take care of Penn State at home, don’t blow the Rutgers and Indiana games, and it’s on to Columbus for the Big Ten East title, another battle against – most likely – Wisconsin, and a shot at the College Football Playoff. Take care of Penn State, first. Jim Harbaugh might have come up with two massive wins, but it doesn’t stop there.