Annihilation In Ann Arbor: Michigan State Out Coached, Out Played By The Wolverines
The Big House
Ann Arbor, MI
In the midst of a disastrous four-game losing streak, Michigan State was on the road in Ann Arbor to take on rival Michigan, but, as expected, the Spartans’ season only got worse.
Despite taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Michigan State could do little else right and was overmatched throughout as Michigan rolled its way to a dominant win, delivering an embarrassing 44-10 knockout to Michigan State.
The loss is Michigan State’s worst loss to the Wolverines since 2002, when Michigan State suffered a 49-3 loss, becoming the latest disappointment in a long season of them.
Michigan State (4-6 overall; 2-5 Big Ten) looked far more efficient on its first two offensive drives of the game than it had through most of its four-game losing streak going into Saturday’s game.
After a promising drive stalled out near midfield to start the game, Michigan State’s second drive proved to be one of the Spartans’ most efficient drives of the season.
Two crucial third-down conversions from Brian Lewerke to Julian Barnett and a 30-yard completion to Cody White down to the 1-yard line set up an easy touchdown pass to Max Rosenthal, capping off a 9-play, 60-yard drive to put Michigan State on top, 7-0.
But that would be about all Michigan State had to be happy about on Saturday.
On the ensuing drive, Michigan answered with a touchdown of its own with the Wolverines moving the ball with ease against the Spartan defense, moving the ball deep into Michigan State territory with the help of a questionable personal foul call going against the Spartans.
Michigan would then use an 18-yard strike from Shea Patterson to Ronnie Bell to move inside the 5-yard line and a Hassan Haskins 1-yard run in the opening moments of the second quarter knotted the game at 7-7.
The Michigan State offense continued having finding early success on its next drive, moving into Michigan State territory with a 20-yard completion to Cody White, but personal fouls on White and offensive lineman Luke Campbell after the play moved the Spartans back into their own end as the drive inevitably came to a screeching halt.
Pinned back at their 2-yard line to begin their next drive, the Wolverines put together a back-breaking drive, marching 98 yards in 12 plays as Patterson connected with tight end Nick Eubanks for a 5-yard score to give Michigan a 14-7 lead with 4:18 left in the first half.
With time running out in the second quarter, Michigan forced a 3-and-out and went back to work offensively, using a 42-yard pass to Bell to set up a Quin Nordin field goal to extend the Wolverines’ lead to 17-7 at halftime.
The Patterson-to-Bell connection proved to be an issue for the Spartans all afternoon long as Patterson finished the day with 384 yards passing and four touchdowns on 23-of-34 passing, while Bell was his top target, hauling in nine catches for 150 yards.
The game continued going south for the Spartans as the second half began with Michigan turning an Ambry Thomas interception of Lewerke into an easy 4-play touchdown drive capped off by an 18-yard pass from Patterson to Donovan Peoples-Jones, pushing the lead to 24-7.
Lewerke put together a solid first quarter but struggled mightily in the final three quarters as he finished with just 166 yards passing to go along with a touchdown and two interceptions on 17-of-33 passing. White’s six catches for 78 yards led Michigan State receivers on the day.
After the two teams exchanged field goals, Michigan’s special teams would get in on the act, coming up with a blocked punt by Khaleke Hudson. On the next play, the Wolverines would again cash in, finding the end zone on a 22-yard pass to Nico Collins as the route was on, 31-10.
Michigan would put an exclamation point on their first home win over Michigan State under Jim Harbaugh late in the fourth quarter when Patterson found a wide-open Cornelius Johnson behind the Spartan defense for a 39-yard touchdown.
The loss is an unfortunate, but predictable and somewhat fitting moment in what has been a season filled with disappointment and frustration for fans and now has the Spartans needing to win their final two games of the season against Rutgers and Maryland just to qualify for a bowl game.
As many Spartan fans turn to social media to call for Coach Dantonio to be fired, last week AD Bill Beekman said that was not even under consideration. After today’s game, Spartan Nation editor and publisher Hondo S. Carpenter Sr., said, “For every single person demanding that Mark Dantonio be fired you need to understand something, whether or not you are correct it absolutely will not happen. He was one of the key reasons AD Bill Beekman got his job. He will go when he wants to and not before.”
For all of the latest news on the 2019 Michigan State football team, be sure to check back to Spartan Nation.