Rapid Reaction: Michigan dominates MSU, hands Spartans worst loss in rivalry under Dantonio
Final Score: Michigan State 10, No. 15 Michigan 44
Brief Recap: It began as a slow start and close game quickly turned into a rout for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines after halftime. As was expected, Michigan State came out fighting hard under head coach Mark Dantonio. The Spartans scored first late in the first quarter, but Michigan responded two minutes later with a touchdown of its own. After it stayed at 7-all for a moment, Michigan provided a drive that swung the game. The Wolverines started with the ball on their two-yard line and proceeded to go 98 yards in over five minutes for an impressive touchdown. Coming out of halftime, it was all Wolverines as Shea Patterson and the offense put together a completely dominating performance against the Spartan defense. It goes down as the biggest loss to Michigan for the Spartans during the Dantonio era.
Key Moment: Michigan already held a 17-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but Michigan State was still holding onto a chance to pull off a comeback. Facing a short fourth down, the Spartans were lining up to go for it from deep in their own territory. Then, a false start penalty forced Michigan State to punt the ball away.
Khaleke Hudson busted through on that play and provided a block of the punt. It put the Wolverines in quick scoring position on the 22-yard line of the Spartans. The offense wasted no time with Patterson hooking up with Nico Collins on a beautiful play. It pushed the lead to 24 points and put to bed any hopes of a comeback.
Key Stat: 384 yards passing by QB Shea Patterson. It marks his best output with the Wolverines and goes down as the most passing yards for a Michigan player against Michigan State. He also threw four touchdowns without an interception in the game.
Key Player: We’re going with the Patterson to Ronnie Bell connection for this one. Though Bell did not catch a touchdown, he was Patterson’s go-to target time and time again. Bell hauled in nine catches for 150 yards, leading the game in both categories. In a rivalry series traditionally decided by the ground game, it was Patterson and Bell who spearheaded the rout by the Wolverines.
What it Means for Michigan State: Mark Dantonio has compounded a very bleak season by putting up his worst performance against Michigan while in East Lansing. The Spartans have now allowed 28+ points in all but one B1G game this season and have allowed 30+ in five of the last six. Beyond that, Michigan State must win its last two games to get to bowl eligibility. Michigan State has only missed a bowl once under Dantonio, during a 3-9 season in 2016.
What it Means for Michigan: For Harbaugh and the Wolverines, they can hold out hope for a potential New Year’s Six Bowl. Though the B1G Championship is currently out of the picture, wins against Indiana and Ohio State would likely be enough to put Michigan in a spot for a big-time bowl game. However, its no secret this season hangs on the season-ending game against Ohio State.