Observations on the loss to the Spartans, 11-35
The Spartans converted 4 red zones for 21 points; the Wolverines converted one of two red zone opportunities for 8 points. MSU turned 3 Devin Gardner turnovers into 7 points while Michigan converted 3 points off one Spartan turnover.
Offense gained 186 net yards with Devin Gardner hitting 13 of 28 for 121 yards. The running game netted 65 yards with Deveon Smith accounting for 39 yards on 11 carries. Devin Funchess caught 5 passes for 64 yards. Offense converted 5 of 15 on 3rd and 4th down conversions, and had 13 first downs. It did manage to score a late 4th quarter TD breaking the streak the Spartans set for 11 quarters in a row shutting out the Wolverines without a TD dating back to 2011. Taiwan Jones led the Spartan defense with 8 tackles including a sack.
The Spartan offense gained 446 net yards with 22 first downs with 256 total yards, and were 6 of 13 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Jeremy Langford netted 177 yards on 35 carries for 3 TDs. Michigan State manhandled the Wolverines on both sides of the ball at the point of attack, and the line of scrimmage. Connor Cook completed 12 of 22 for 227 yards; Tony Lippett caught 3 passes for 103 yards including a 70 yard TD pass. An 8 minute time of possession advantage led to 11 more offensive plays by the Spartans. Joe Bolden and Jake Ryan led the Wolverine defense with 12 tackles each; Jarrod Wilson forced a fumble and had 11 stops for Michigan.
Special Teams did well with Matt Wile hitting a 48 yard field goal. Will Hagerup punted 6 times for a 42.3 yard average including nailing two inside the 20. The Spartans missed a field goal by Geiger, and had a 29 yard punt by Sadler.
On the bright side, Brady Hoke and staff will have zero chance to return in 2015 after a homecoming loss to Indiana next week, and the Hoosiers will come to Ann Arbor prepared and hungry for a win. An Indiana win will close the door on any possible bowl appearance for the Wolverines this season. The Spartans prepare for Ohio State in two weeks with the Big Ten Championship, Rose Bowl and a possible trip to the Final Four in the new BCS National Championship format with a potential re-match with Oregon. Mark Dantonio has now won 6 of 8 games against the Wolverines, and has the best win percentage in MSU football history against Michigan.
Michigan Drives Stake in Pre-Game at Spartan Field