Takeaways set the tone for Spartans in victory over Wolverines


Michigan has had two weeks to prepare for Michigan State. They're the team on the upswing again.

After opening the season 2-0, a tough loss to Notre Dame on the road effectively knocked Michigan State off everyone's radar.

Saturday night, we learned that Michigan still has a Michigan State problem. It's the Spartans' eighth win in 10 games against the Wolverines, and it's their second in three tries against Jim Harbaugh. Michigan State heads to Minnesota next Saturday for another night game. MI needed a miracle of its own on Saturday to beat the Spartans, but it wasn't to be. His latest win, upsetting #7 MI in the Big House 14-10 is the next entry to his list.

Michigan State has been able to own this series at the betting window, but the Wolverines got things back in their favor past year and I think it continues tonight.

The other is that Jim Harbaugh has many good things going on at MI, but it's clear the Wolverines aren't going to advance until their quarterback play dramatically improves. The offense made it to the Michigan State 37-yard line with five seconds left, but O'Korn's Hail Mary heave fell incomplete at the goal line, ending the game. It fell to the ground incomplete, ending any hopes of a MI miracle.

Among teams at the highest level of college football, the Wolverines rank 115th in tackles for losses allowed; 110th in first downs; 109th in turnovers and 84th in total offense with a running game that ranks only slightly better their passing game.

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When Michigan State players celebrated with fans in the stands after the game, a "Little Sisters!" chant broke out.

The Spartans led 14-3 at halftime.

MSU's special teams had major issues early in the third quarter to cost the Spartans field position, first Andre Welch's east-and-west kickoff return that included a hold to start them at their own 7 to begin the second half. John O' Korn, who was picked off three times Saturday, is not the answer. The Spartans turned things around last week, grinding out a 17-10 win over Iowa in which they won the turnover battle 2-0. The lead was short-lived, as the Spartans took advantage of a short field to jump in front, 7-3, on a 14-yard touchdown scramble from quarterback Brian Lewerke. That's meant 2013 MI rushing for negative-48 yards against the Spartans, but in 2017, it meant MSU taking a 14-3 lead before the bottom fell out, then allowing one 33-yard touchdown drive while just standing on the brake pedal the rest of the way.

Even though the Buffalo Bulls did not come away with a victory against Western Michigan, quarterback Drew Anderson was stellar.

MI is still chasing its first Big Ten title since 2004, and at 1-1 with those tough games left, a title will likely have to wait again. Michigan, then at Ohio State and Michigan State is about as brutal a slate as the conference can hand out.