For the fifth time in six years, the Michigan State football team has outplayed their bitter rival, the Michigan Wolverines. A game that was expected to be a close battle in the trenches, turned into a blowout as the Spartan defense completely dominated the game and wore down the Wolverine offense. The Spartans took back the Paul Bunyan Trophy once again as with a 29-6 conference win. They stay undefeated in Big Ten Play and have the sole lead in the Legends Division.
The top defense in the nation was expecting to face their toughest challenge yet this season. Michigan’s Devin Gardner is known for making explosive plays. As a dual threat quarterback, he can easily change the flow of each play as he sees fit. But it turned out the explosive Gardner was no match for the Spartan D, as they held him and the rest of Michigan’s offense in check. And for the third straight game, MSU did not allow a touchdown.
Gardner was sacked a total of seven times. His rushing total was -46 yards. As a team the Wolverines were held to -48 yards for the game, the lowest in the program’s long history. Fitzgerald Toussaint was the only positive in the back field for Michigan as he rushed for 22 yards on eight carries. Gardner also threw 14-27 for 210 yards and also one interception, picked by Spartan captain Darqueze Dennard. Michigan was also only successful on two third down conversions out of 13.
"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."
Michigan State’s offense put up great numbers on the boards. For the fourth straight game, Jeremy Langford rushed for more than 100 yards. Against Michigan, he totaled 120 yards on the ground, averaging 4.6 per carry and scoring one touchdown. Connor Cook spread the ball out too. He totaled 252 yards, completing 18 of 33 and only throwing one interception, his third for the year. Six Spartan receivers caught for double digit receiving yards. Bennie Fowler led the way, totaling 75 yards on six catches with one touchdown.
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