Observations on the whipping by the Spartans, 6-29!
Michigan State converted 3 red zones into 16 points while Michigan only could convert 3 points in their two red zone opportunities. Each team had one turnover, and MSU gained 7 points of their opportunity while the Wolverines squandered their only chance.
Offense sputtered their way to 12 first downs, 2 of 14 on 3rd and 4th down conversions, 168 net yards after -48 yard in rushing was deducted from 7 sacks. The -48 yards in rushing is a new Michigan record, the last record of -46 was set against Minnesota in 1962. Devin Gardner was 14 of 27 for 210 yards, and 16 carries for -46 yards. Jeremy Gallon had 5 catches for 67 yards. Jehu Chesson had 4 catches for 88 yards. Devin Funchess had 6 catches for 65 yards. Fitzgerald Toussaint had 8 carries for 20 yards. Michigan began the second half with 4 "3 and outs." Denicos Allen had 9 tackles, 3 for loss including 2 sacks. Shilique Calhoun and Ed Davis combined from the other 5 sacks. The Spartans put 7 quarterback hits on Gardner along with some tough hits on his carries to knock him out of the game late in the 4th quarter.
Defense was unable to stop the Spartans when needed. Connor Cook was 18 of 33 for 252 yards and a 23 yard TD to Bennie Fowler. Fowler caught 6 for 75 yards. Tony Lippett had 5 catches for 62 yards. The Wolverines put little pressure on Cook, but did manage one sack. Ramon Taylor led the defense with 12 tackles, a pass break up, and an interception; Frank Clark had 9 tackles, Desmond Morgan and Joe Bolden had 8 each. MSU had 394 net yards and a 4 minute time of possession advantage that resulted in 12 more offensive plays. The Spartans were 9 of 18 in 3rd down conversion, and ended up with 19 first downs, and 142 yards on the ground. They were patient, and kept their composure while they waited for the right plays to work
Matt Wile hit a field goal, and punted 8 times for 40.9 yard average. Brendan Gibbons hit a field goal after it hit the post and bounced inside. Michael Geiger hit 3 field goals for the Spartans, and Mike Sadler punted 5 times for a 40.8 yard average.
It was a sad, sad day for Michigan football fans including myself. It is obvious that after 3 seasons, Brady Hoke and his staff aren't up to snuff with Mark Dantonio and his staff who have built a solid, dominating defense with much less recruiting talent than us. Over the past three seasons, Michigan's recruiting classes and talent have been far superior to Michigan State's; however, Dantonio and his staff have done a far better job developing good talent through their coaching philosophy. We have great talent, but aren't getting the most of our talent while MSU is getting way more out of their players; they also play better together as a team, and are obviously tougher. We have a better offense that they do, but their defense completely dominated our offense. They were more physical, as advertised, and they outplayed us the whole way after gaining a late second quarter advantage just before halftime.
Perhaps we can rally to finish 9-3, but we'll certainly lose to Ohio State, and we could lose other games in November. Nebraska comes in next week with momentum after beating Northwestern, and is 6-2 on the season. I'm not even sure we are the 4th best team in the conference. We will struggle on the road against both Northwestern and Iowa. If we finish strong by winning those three games, we could get a Capital One or Outback Bowl bid especially if Wisconsin wins out and makes a BCS game with a 10-2 record.