Feeling more like fall than summer, the MSU Spartans continued their pursuit of an elusive Big Ten title.Â The tailgating crowd was intense and you could cut the electricity with a knife.Â The Spartans: loose and ready to go.Â They seemed more like a bunch of guys ready for a fun game in the backyard.Â The Wolverines:Â seemed uptight, and echoing my comments all week, seemed like a team desperately trying to avoid a loss, more than a team looking for a win.
The Spartans, 4-0 and number #5 in the Spartan Nation top 25, came in looking to make a statement that things have changed in East Lansing.Â The Wolverines, unrated and 2-2 were a team searching for an identity.Â Almost like a little brother trying to follow in the shadow of a great athlete older brother.Â They had the shadow of the great history and legacy of Wolverine teams of the past.
The pre-game buzz in the press box was that Um was without star receiver Steve Breaston for the game, that is a huge loss for the Wolverines especially in the special teams.Â The Spartans won the toss and elected to receive, thus putting field general Stanton on the field first.
The Spartans first drive began at their own 20.Â Stanton passed on 3rd down for 18 yards to Scott and the Spartans had the first 1st down of the game on their own 43.Â On a critical 2nd down Stanton was sacked for a loss of 13 by Massey.Â Â Â On 3rd down they picked up the majority of the yardage but not the 1st so field punted on 4th and pinned the Wolverines at their own 2.
Henne came under center in a power I, with Hart in and they picked up none on 1st down as the sweltering volume of the student section made life harsh.Â Henne threw to Tabb to bring up a 3rd and 2.Â On third down Hart picked up 45 yards and Hart did some real trash talking to the MSU bench.Â On a first from the Spartan 44, Henne picked up 18 when he hit Manningham for the 1st down.Â Henne on 1st down again at the MSU 26 handed off to Hart who picked up 2.Â 2nd and 8 and the Wolverines picked up the first down to the Spartan 16 on a nice pass to Ecker.Â On 1st down Henne had a bad to pass to an open Avant in the end zone.Â Henne hit a nice pass on 2nd down to Avant for 5 and on 3rd down, Henne went split right, and Jackson native Antonio Bass ran from the QB position for a 1st down to the 2.Â Henne hit Avant for the TD and the PAT was good.Â The score was 7-0 UM with 8:23 left in the 1st quarter.Â It was a 98-yard drive for the score.Â Once again the kick was a touchback and MSU came back onto the field for a critical 2nd drive.
On 1st down Stanton handed off to Ringer for 3 yards.Â On 2nd down Stanton threw his first really bad pass of the season to Trannon and luckily it was incomplete.Â On 3rd down Stanton scrambled forever and hit a wide-open Trannon, but he dropped the pass.Â Fields shanked his punt and the Wolverines began drive number 2 from their own 48.Â Hart ran on 1st down for 9 yards. On 2nd down, Henne hit Manningham for a 43-yard TD pass.Â Â Hayes was once again burned by a UM receiver on the play, echoing memories of last year.Â The PAT was good, and the score was 14-0 with 7:03 left in the 1st quarter.
With UM hitting yet another touchback, MSU once again began on itâ€™s own 20.Â Stanton hit Ringer for 5 yards on 1st.Â On 2nd down, Stanton gave the ball to Ringer again for 2 bringing up a 3rd and 3.Â Stanton hit a wide-open Kyle Brown for the 1st down, it was 13 yards and MSU at itâ€™s own 40.Â MSU went back to the ground on 1st down and MSU lost 1.Â UM was almost daring MSU to pass and they did on 2nd down on a pass to Kyle Brown who tried to run with the ball before he caught it for the drop.Â On 3rd down Stanton hit Scott for 31 yards giving MSU a 1st on the 31.Â Teague then ran for 12 yards getting the 1st down.Â On 1st again Scott took the snap from the gun for the 1st down and on the ensuing play Caulcrick ran to the 4.Â On second and goal from the 4, Stanton kept it for the TD.Â The PAT was good and UM had the lead over MSU 14-7 with 2:44 left in the 1st quarter.Â The drive was 80 yards over 10 plays and it last 4:19.
UM began from the 30 and Henne hit a wide-open WR for 3.Â On 2nd down, Hart took a beating after a 2-yard gain.Â So with a critical 3rd down, Henne had a good pass dropped so in came the punting unit.Â Kyle Brown caught the ball (thank God) and MSU began at their own 35.Â Caulcrick took care of business on 1st down running for 22 yards and the first down at the Wolverine 44.Â Again on 1st down, Stanton hit a wide-open Brown over the middle for 16 more yards.Â With yet another 1st down to play with, General Stanton gave to Scott who threw a pass that was intercepted clearly.Â When the UM player fumbled the ball Burgess recovered the ball.Â In the interest of fairness, the ref got it right on review it was clearly a UM interception.
Henne came right out and hit a wide-open Avant for a quick 1st down and that was the end of the 1st quarter.Â The start of the 2nd quarter brought UM a 2nd down.Â Henne threw a bad pass so that brought up 3rd down.Â Henne went long on 3rd down and hit Ecker for the 1st down on the MSU 35.Â Hart got stopped on 1st down and that put UM with a 2nd and 9 on the MSU 34.Â Henne dropped back and hit an open Avant for 14 and a 1st and 10 at the 20.Â UM was faced 2 plays later with a 3rd and 3 on the 13.Â Hart could not convert and MSU held the UM rusher.Â So with a 4th and 2, Coach Carr sent in his kicker for a FG and it was good.Â Making the score 17-7 UM.Â It was clearly a terrible call by the referee but it kept the drive alive for UM and they now had a 1st and goal from the 6.Â From a power I, Henne threw a bad pass to Avant, making it 2nd and goal.Â Hart lost a yard on 2nd down and the Wolverines had a 3rd and goal on the 5.Â On the crucial 3rd and 5, Um came out in an offset left, power I.Â Henne hit an uncovered Brian Thompson for the TD and with the successful PAT, it was UM 21 and MSU 7, with 11:20 left in the 2nd quarter.
MSU ran the kick to the Spartan 22 and that was the beginning place of attack for Stanton.Â He handed to Ringer for a gain of 13 on 1st down.Â Stanton came right back on the next play (1st down) and tossed it back to Scott for 2 yards.Â On 2nd down, Stanton handed to Caulcrick for a big gain and a 1st down to the Spartan 49.Â On 2nd down Stanton tried a run that lost 1.Â 2nd and 11 at the MSU 48.Â Stanton from the gun hit Trannon for no gain.Â On 3rd and 11, Stanton hit Trannon for 14 and the MSU 1st down.Â Stanton once again hit a wide-open Brown who just dropped it.Â On 2nd down, Stanton made his first bad read of the day missing an uncovered Holmes and throwing into double coverage.Â MSU then picked up an illegal substitution penalty for a 3rd and 15.Â Stanton responded hitting Scott with a bullet pass that picked up 31 yards and gave MSU a 1st and 10 at the 12.Â Stanton on 1st down gave it to Caulcrick for 5.Â 2nd and 5, on the 6.Â Stanton gave the ball to Caulcrick for 4 yards and Stanton on 3rd and 1 shoed some more magic, running about 5o yards coast to coast for the 1st down.Â UM was flagged for holding and MSU had a 1st and goal on the 1.Â Caulcrick wasted no time getting the TD and the PAT was good.Â Make that UM 21 MSU 14 with 5:56 left in the 2nd.Â UM face a touchback and they now had the ball on the 20.
Henne came out on 1st down in the power I and a run by Grady picked up a Â½ yard.Â Henne on 2nd down completed pass and it was 3rd and 3 in a rocking Spartan Stadium.Â Avant dropped a perfect pass and the Wolverines had to punt.Â MSU had no chance to return the punt and MSU had a 1st down on their own 33.
Stanton ran on the field charged and ready to tie the game.Â MSU facing a critical drive had to take care of business.Â Stanton gave to Ringer for a pick up 6 on a nice run on 1st down.Â On 2nd down, Stanton from the gun, hit Reed for a 61-yard TD strike.Â The PAT was good and MSU had tied the game at 21 with 3:30 left in the 2nd quarter.
UM ran the kickoff to the 33.Â Henne hit Tabb for 7 yards and on 2nd Hart picked up the 1st down.Â On 1st and 10 on the Um 40, Henne ran a textbook play action for another 1st down to Avant for 18.Â On 1st and 10 from the MSU 42, Henne threw a short out to Hart, he caught it for a gain of 6, but he took a hard hit from Watson.Â On 2nd Henne again hit a another completion for yet another TD.Â 1st and 10 at the MSU 31 and he hit another open WR for a 7 yards.Â 2nd and 3 at the MSU 24.Â Henne gave it to Hart who was stuffed by Herron for a 4-yard loss.Â Facing 3rd and 7 on the MSU 27, Henne facing the volume of nearly 80,000 was unable to pick up the first on a completion to Avant.Â 4th and 1 on the MSU 22 and UM took their last time out of the half.Â Normally conservative Lloyd Carr went for it and Hart gained 11. 1st and 10 at the 12.Â After 2 insignificant plays it was Um going for a 20-yard field goal, and it was good.Â UM 24 MSU 21 with 9 seconds left in the half.
MSU got the ball at their own 34 and Stanton had 3 seconds for 1 play.Â Everyone knew that it would be a Hail Mary.Â Stanton threw an interception and the half ended.
UM began the 2nd half at their own 20 and Henne got sacked by Peko.Â Hart gained back 2 on 2nd down.Â On 3rd down MSU intercepted the ball (Adams) and they got the ball at the UM 17.
Stanton gave the ball to Teague for a gain of 4 on 1st down.Â On 2nd down Teague ran again, but MSU was called for holding.Â So on 2nd and 16 from the 23, Stanton ran the ball for 6 yards to the UM 17.Â 3rd and 10 on the 17 and Stanton from the gun hit an open Ringer for 8 yards and it was 4th and 2.Â The field goal was good, and MSU tied the game at 24 with 11:11 left in the 3rd quarter.Â UM faced another touchback on the kickoff and Um began their next drive on the 20.
Henne led out his Wolverines and handed off to Hart for 5 yards.Â On 2nd down he handed off to Hart again for a 2-yard gain, giving UM a 3rd and 3.Â UM was stopped by Cooper and the Wolverines had to punt.Â Kyle Brown made yet another mistake by not making the fair catch, but he did not fumble so it was MSU 1st and 10 at their own 28.
In a statement drive, Stanton led out his troops and marched the Spartans down the field, highlighted by a beautiful pass completion for 19 yards to Love.Â Stanton however had the drive end prematurely as he fumbled and UM recovered at the MSU 46.Â MSU held the Wolverines to a 3 and out and MSU got the ball back at their own 4 after a fine punt and coverage by the Wolverines.
Stanton wanting redemption for the fumble on the previous drive led out the Spartans for the next drive.Â He handed off to Ringer for a 1-yard gain.Â Ringer ran again on 2nd for a nice 4-yard gain.Â On 3rd and 5 Stanton had a gorgeous 20 â€“yard gain on a perfect pass to Love.Â With a new 1st down on their own 28, Stanton gave to Teague for a nice gain of 8.Â 2nd and 2 had the warrior Stanton from the gun completing a nice pas to Trannon for 12 and a 1st down on the MSU 48.Â Stanton again came out under center and Caulcrick was hammered for a 4-yard loss.Â On 2nd and 14, Stanton again used some green magic and hit a wide-open Ringer for a nice 8-yard gain and the Spartans faced a 3rd and 6.Â No problem for Stanton, lining up in the gun, he ran for the first and MSU was on the move again with a 1st and 10 on the UM 42.Â Under center on 1st down Stanton handed to Ringer who was tripped a the line of scrimmage and fell forward for a gain of 1.Â On 2nd, form the gun, Stanton hit Kyle Brown for the completion and Mason hammered him, but he held on.Â Again, 3rd and 3 from the Um 34.Â Stanton optioned to Ringer who ran for a 1st down to the UM 28.Â Stanton gave to Caulcrick who ran for 5 and on 2nd down he hit Trannon for 12 yards and a 1st down at the UM 12.Â Stanton again in the gun on 1st down, he handed off for a 3-yard gain and the 4th quarter ended.Â MSU had a 2nd and 7 on the UM 9 to begin the 4th quarter.Â Stanton started the 4th quarter in the gun and ran for 3.Â On 3rd and 4, Ringer was stuffed for no gain and MSU went for the field goal.Â The FG was missed from 22 yards and the game remained tied with 13:30 left in the 4th quarter.
UM began their first 4th quarter drive from their own 20.Â Henne handed off to Hart for a 64-yard gain.Â It was UM 1st and 10 on the MSU 16.Â Henne handed off and the ball carrier was just drilled by the Spartan defense for 4 yards.Â On 2nd down, again UM handed off and picked up the 1st down.Â It was 1st and goal on the 4.Â Henne again gave to Hart and he picked up 2.Â 2nd and goal on the 2.Â The MSU defense needed to earn itâ€™s keep after a terrible day here and they picked up an interference call in the end zone.Â So, UM now had a 1st and 1 at the 1.Â Henne gave to Hart and the Wolverines scored.Â The PAT was good, so with 11:29 left in the 4th, it was MSU24 and UM 31.
After the kickoff, MSU began their drive from their own 20.Â Stanton and the guys desperately needed to put something together as the defense had been non-existent today.Â Out of the gun, Stanton lost 2 with a run on 1st down.Â On 2nd down MSU lost 6 more on a COMPLETION!Â Now it was a crucial 3rd and 17 and Stanton made a great pass to Scott who simply dropped the ball for what would have been a gigantic gain and a first down.Â The drive was less than 1 minute and after the punt, UM had the ball at their own 46.
With what was for sure the most important possession of the game, UM came out and Henne gave the ball to Hart (no surprise) for a gain of 2.Â On 2nd down, Henne passed for a 7-yard gain, and the MSU defense was faced with a urgent 3rd and 1.Â Henne gave to Hart and he picked apart the pathetic MSU defense for a 1st down at the MSU 41.Â Henne on 1st down threw a bad pass bringing up 2nd and 10 for the Wolverines.Â From under center with a one back set, Henne passed for a 5 â€“yard gain.Â 3rd and 5, on the MSU 35 and once again, could the anemic MSU defense do anything?Â The answer was once again NO!Â 1st and 10 on the MSU 25. Hart went right up the middle for no gain.Â Facing a 2nd and 10 on the MSU 25, Henne didnâ€™t like the MSU formation and called a time out.Â After the TO, Henne was under huge pressure and he threw the ball away.Â On 3rd down and 10, Henne fumbled and Peko ran the ball back 74-yards for the TD.Â The play was reviewed and the TD stood.Â MSU had tied the score at 31 with 6:43 left in the 4th quarter.
Offense: B Drew played great but to many dropped passes.Â 24 points however was a good showing and do not forget they also should have had 2 more FGâ€™s.
Defense:Â C- lost, and gave up 34 points.Â Peko did get a TD.
Special Teams:Â F missed FGâ€™s that could have won this game more than once.
Coaching:Â C had the kids in position to win, had an excellent game plan, but simply did not have the ability to make kicks or tackles.Â Got to conservative a few times, but did a good job, this loss was certainly not their fault.
Teague had 8 attempts for 72 yards.
Caulcrick had 7 attempts for 50 yards and one TD.
Ringer had 12 attempts for 37 yards.
Scott had 2 attempts for 14 yards.
Stanton had 8 attempts for 0 yards and 1 TD.
Stanton had 30 attempts, he completed 20, and he had 1 TD and 1 INT.
Scott had 1 attempt and 1 interception.
Brown had 4 catches for 53 yards.
Love had 4 catches for 36 yards.
Trannon had 4 catches for 36 yards.
Ringer had 4 catches for 16 yards.
Scott had 3 catches for 80 yards.
Reed had 1 catch for 61 yards and 1 TD.
E. Smith 11
Peko 6 tackles 1 sack 1 TD
McKinney 6 tackles
Bazemore 6 tackles
Watson 4 tackles
Williams 4 tackles
Thornhill 4 tackles
Juarez 2 tackles
Nantambu 2 tackles
Oquendo 2 tackles
N. Smith 2 tackles
Ryan 2 tackles 1 sack
Wiley 2 tackles
Teague 2 tackles
Holmes 1 tackle
David Stanton 1 tackle
Love 1 tackle