Michigan had a fair amount of drama leading up to Saturday’s rivalry showdown vs. Michigan State. Most of that centered on an NCAA Investigation into Jim Harbaugh’s program with allegations of sign stealing involved.

However, once Saturday rolled around, it was back to football and putting things together on the field. Needless to say, the Wolverines put it together — and then some — in their drive to maintain the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

The Wolverines put together a 14-0 start to the game in the blink of an eye before pulling away with a 28-0 lead at halftime. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, it was 42-0 with the final outcome out of the question.


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Here are 3 key takeaways from the dominant 49-0 shutout victory in a rivalry game:

JJ McCarthy’s Heisman campaign

For much of the season, McCarthy has not had a chance to play late in games and pile up the numbers in crunch time. That trend continued in Week 8 with Michigan playing 3 QBs in reserve of McCarthy late in the game.

Fortunately, McCarthy dazzled while on the field, completing 21-of-27 passes for 287 yards and 4 touchdowns without an interception. He added 8 yards on the ground with some scrambling plays involved, but it was his work through the air that stole the show.

Against the Spartans, it did not matter who McCarthy was throwing to or where he was throwing the ball from. He threw touchdowns to Roman Wilson, a pair to Colston Loveland and another to AJ Barner to dominate Saturday’s action.

Defense caps shutout rout of Spartans

The in-state rivalry has seen everything from dominant defensive performances to explosive offenses, but witnessing a shutout is hard to come back. In fact, the most recent shutout in the series came all the back in 2000, a 14-0 victory for Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The shutout was a feather in the cap for Michigan’s defense, and the other numbers speak to the total domination. Michigan State was held to just 10 first downs, 190 total yards of offense, 2 yards per carry and just over 20 minutes time of possession.

While Michigan showed last year that it was starting to establish a sense of dominance in the series, Saturday night’s outcome was on a different level entirely for the No. 2 team in the nation.

Penalties, penalties, penalties

In any bitter rivalry games, officials are aware of the potential for some late-play extracurriculars. That was the case Saturday night with Michigan State racking up 11 total penalties, including one ugly cheap shot that resulted in an ejection.

In the end, Michigan State finished with 11 penalties for 102 total yards, giving the Spartans more penalties than first downs in the game. It was a particularly inept, ineffective, undisciplined and downright ugly performance for a team in the middle of a disastrous season.