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Michigan State’s defense overpowers Wolverines

Denicos Allen, Isaiah Lewis AP

No. 24 Michigan State (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) has the best defense in the Big Ten. They put on a show Saturday in a win over in-state rival No. 23 Michigan (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten) . The Spartans dominated their way to a 29-6 victory over the Wolverines, the fifth win out of the last six years for Mark Dantonio and his Spartans.

Michigan State completely dismantled Michigan’s running game and constantly had pressure in the backfield against a woeful Wolverine offensive line. Michigan State sacked Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner seven times and held the Wolverines to -48 rushing yards in the game. Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford, who put the cherry on top of the win with a 40-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter, ended his day with 120 yards. Michigan’s offense had just 168 yards in the game and the Wolverines were held to just two third down conversions out of 13.

It was a long afternoon for the Wolverines to say the least. The Spartans have now kept their opponents out of the end zone in three consecutive games, so Michigan is not alone in struggling to crack this defense.

Michigan State is now in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten Legends Division. The Spartans remain undefeated in Big Ten play and can clinch a trip to Indianapolis in the next couple of games with road games at Nebraska an Northwestern next up. Michigan State played in the first Big Ten Championship Game two seasons ago and is in a favorable position to get to their second in three years. The likely opponent would be Ohio State. If there is a defense in the Big Ten capable of slowing down the Buckeyes enough to pull the upset, it belongs to Michigan State.

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13 Responses to “Michigan State’s defense overpowers Wolverines”
  1. polegojim says: Nov 2, 2013 7:04 PM

    Michigan State absolutely the better team today.

    Spartans did EVERYTHING they intended to do.

    My Wolverines are broken… it’s now on Hoke
    1) Gardner is athletic… but not a smart football player. He does not provide opportunities to win.
    2) The D quit… as seen on the final TD.
    3) Not what you expect to see in Year 3

    CMon Guys… GO BLUE

  2. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Nov 2, 2013 7:17 PM

    Sparty D was the difference. Wolverines have been overrated this season. Their last few games have been evidence.

  3. trinityeagle says: Nov 2, 2013 7:23 PM

    @Polegojim

    I disagree on several points.

    The D did not quit. They went all out expecting a run up the middle on a 3rd and 2 and the runner got outside. Desmond Morgan was definitely in an all out sprint and the corners/safeties certainly tried, they were just not in a position to succeed.

    The game was allowed to be physical from the get go and there were numerous missed penalties on each team. One of the worst though was the helmet to helmet hit on Gallon on the first play of the game. That was exactly the idea behind a targeting penalty. It didn’t change the outcome, but Isaiah Lewis probably won’t get to play next week.

    Lastly, embarrassing performance by Michigan’s offense. Wide Receivers were open for most of the game, but there was either no time to find them, or missed reads by the quarterback. I think it is time that Al Borges needs to go.

    Finally, Denard Robinson. I love the kid, but he doesn’t play for Michigan anymore. Let’s focus on the actual game instead of interviewing an alumnus of the visiting team on the sideline.

  4. afrancis55 says: Nov 2, 2013 7:28 PM

    Sparty has one hell of a defense.

    That is all.

  5. polegojim says: Nov 2, 2013 7:36 PM

    Trinity…

    We disagree on is the D… and you’re wrong.
    Second half – MSU ran, passed, blocked, gained… pretty much at will. The Michigan D never left the locker room and was done. They can’t make nor expect the offense to score 30 per game to win. That’s not Conference winning D… it’s poor.

    Borges is a horrid game planner… and Gardner is just as bad of a play/game manager. He technically earned a 1/2 sack on many of his own by being slow, slow, slow to make decisions… throw behinds, late, waiting far too long, the running directly INTO tackles. Just not a heady player. His final ‘injury’ was as much embarrassment and it was bruised and battered.
    We’re seeing the reasons they moved him to WR.

    Time to get the ‘next’ QB ready.

  6. trinityeagle says: Nov 2, 2013 7:40 PM

    Are we talking about the same defense that was backed up all day? The same defense that made an interception in a 10 point game and brought it back to the 40 yard line.

    The defense did not quit. They weren’t as good as the guys in green, but they played hard and they played well.

  7. harbourimages says: Nov 2, 2013 8:11 PM

    Lewan was as bad as MSU’s Golston a couple years ago with that face mask grabbing crap. And Fritz better learn to keep his trash-talking mouth shut until he can gain more than 2 yards per carry. I’ve never been a Borges fan and still am not, and Gardner seems to be getting worse, not improving. We were lucky to squeak by Akron and UConn. Can’t play like we did against them and expect to beat GOOD teams. I just hope MSU can beat the Fugeyes this year. We sure won’t! And it would be nice to see our road record to improve next year since we sure have sucked it up the last couple years, including this one…. Geesh!

  8. barnesaintnoble says: Nov 2, 2013 8:51 PM

    I have a hard time criticizing players in college, players who are not paid, limited to 20 (realistically stretched to about 30) hours a week and still have classes (8 credits for starters, realistically). Can’t expect young players to be able to pick up complicated schemes on either side of the ball. Criticize the guys upstairs and on the sidelines who are getting paid quite a bit of money.

    Michigan defense was okay, it’s hard to perform great when your is 2/14 (or something close to that) on third down. The Defensive Line (Hoke’s specialty) was very bad and the blitz calls by Mattison were inexplicably rare for a quarterback that struggles throwing the ball consistently. (It worked when they did blitz) The D, however, did not quit. Remember, they had to watch that same incompetent and awful offense you did.

    Offensively? Fire Al Borges. Devin Gardner IS a smart football player. When you practice a garbage offense all week (over a bye) it’s going to look like smellier garbage when you play against the #1 D in the country. You have to abandon the run and spread them out of their comfort-zone 3-4 packages. Michigan did the opposite, and had a bye week to plan their own impending misery. Devin Gardner started 5 games last season with little coaching and looked fantastic, could take over games like we’ve seen other great dual threats do. The more coaching he has received, the worse he has looked. Gardner has been destroyed by a bad coordinator/QB coach putting him in a prehistoric system with bad play calls. He’s a journeyman coordinator for a reason.

    Fire Al Borges, and if Hoke doesn’t have the balls, he can hit the road too. Recruiting well is no reason to keep him around, because the staff he is loyal too ends up wasting the talent anyway.

  9. barnesaintnoble says: Nov 2, 2013 8:53 PM

    Oh, did I also mention Fire Al Borges?

  10. sparty0n says: Nov 2, 2013 9:43 PM

    MSU should be undefeated. Watch the ND take and you can hear Todd McShay say we were screwed by the refs with bad PI calls.

    Am I being a homer? yes. But when the announcers are saying your team is getting screwed, it validates the belief that we should have won that game too.

  11. dkhhuey says: Nov 2, 2013 9:50 PM

    @pole – every game I’ve watch TSUN play – it appears that Hoke is getting his ass completely out coached. Against Indiana – he actually admitted that they didn’t really change any game plans to deal with Indiana’s offense… I found that an amazing comment coming from a coach. With the recruits he has been pulling in, you should not be almost losing to UConn, Akron and losing to a crippled Penn State team. He is starting to look more and more like the Charlie Weis (no – this isn’t about weight).

  12. polegojim says: Nov 3, 2013 12:04 AM

    @DK – I agree. Poor to little adjustment by staff

    @barns – Not just when pressured… Gardner makes foolish mistakes when good plays ARE THERE… when receivers are open… late late late.
    Then holds the ball and INVITES sacks. That is NOT smart football.

    I completely agree that Borges game planning and strategy is crap… but I’ve grown less and less impressed with Mattisons D also. When you constantly have to score 30… or more… to win against better teams, that’s bad D. Zero pass rush.

    Lastly, I’m getting tired of the politically correct pressers too. I was VERY glad to hear some of the reporters asking Brady the TOUGH questions. They guy needs to uncomfortable.

  13. ttalarico says: Nov 3, 2013 10:33 AM

    @sparty0n

    I was at the ND/MSU game and those calls were close but the “Big 10″ officials called them correctly.

    By the way, I have been rooting for MSU in every game. I hope you run the table. It makes ND look more “relevant” every day.

    Go Irish!
    Go MSU!

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