Michigan heard all the talk about it losing seven of the last eight to in-state rival Michigan State. It also hoped to shut up those who were talking about the streak, and did just that in a 32-23 victory in East Lansing.
However, these two teams also came in to this game going in opposite directions and what looked like a potential East division knock-out game lost some of its luster thanks to a five-game losing streak by the Spartans.
Michigan came in rolling and undefeated, highlighted by arguably the best defense in the country.
It wasn’t hyperbole either, with the team leading just about any and every statistical category one could think of.
That didn’t matter much in this one, as the Spartans found plenty of room to run and opportunities to make plays in the second half especially.
Instead, the biggest story of this game was Michigan’s offense and its ability to carry the team when called upon. It was really the first time all season the defense leaned on the offense to get the W.
All that offense did was rack up 437 yards and score 30 points on the day.
It also used eight different runners to rack up 197 yards and all three of the Michigan touchdowns on the day.
First it was Jabril Peppers pounding it in off the right edge for a 5-yard touchdown, but the real story was De’Veon Smith’s ability to find the end zone in crucial situations as he scored a pair of touchdowns on just 11 carries and 38 total yards on the day.
Junior quarterback Wilton Speight was efficient as well, going 16 of 25 for 244 yards while throwing an interception to no touchdowns.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying, as Michigan State was caught flat-footed in the end zone and committed a number of pass interference or holding penalties to avoid an easy six points on the board.
Michigan State committed seven penalties overall on the day, four of which were interference or defensive holding calls.
While the final scoreline may have indicated a close game, this one was put nearly out of distance by halftime thanks to Michigan’s offensive effectiveness. It was 27-10 Michigan thanks to a Kenny Allen 45-yard field goal to end the first half, but it felt like that 17-point lead was just too big a hill to climb.
As it turned out, that was exactly the case despite a furious second half comeback attempt by the Spartans.
So, while most are still going to talk about Michigan’s awesome defense, it is time the offense gets the same amount of credit for being really good too.