He’s now 1-4 as the school’s head coach against MSU and Ohio State. The Spartans were able to bounce back after a blowout loss to Notre Dame in Week 4. That question may have been answered on Saturday night in Ann Arbor, as Michigan State suddenly looks like a contender in the mighty Big Ten East.
“Can’t say enough about our defense”, Dantonio said. “I don’t know why there is a lot of doubt”. A couple of runs from running back Gerald Holmes and quarterback Brian Lewerke (11-for-22, 94 yards, 1 touchdown, 15 carries, 61 yards, 1 touchdown) led to a Lewerke run on 2nd-and-13 that ended with a dive into the endzone, 7-3 Michigan State. Hurst helped Michigan limit Michigan State to just two first downs and only 66 yards of offense after halftime and continues to command double teams against every team the Wolverines play. This gave life to the Spartans who seemed to already be reeling.
“There’s a little sense of relief there”, linebacker Chris Frey acknowledged.
Like Michigan two years ago, Michigan State was tasked with running out the clock late with a lead.
Also, ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum hypothesized Harbaugh may not be long for Ann Arbor should the team not start winning big games. Even with its 3-1 record, it seemed like an afterthought in the conference, plummeting to the basement past year after spending much of the last decade near the top of the Big Ten. That proved to be all the scoring the Spartans needed as they went without a point in the second half for the second straight week, but still won the game.
Both coaches on Saturday night had teams with similar strengths and weaknesses.
Sure, monsoon season hit The Big House on Saturday night.
“We had some different things going on in the second semester as well, but I knew that we’d rally up and I knew that our football team and our program would basically come back to the top”. A handful of turnovers and penalties are partly are to blame for the Wolverines’ ultimate defeat as John O’Korn took to the field as quarterback, taking over for the injured Wilton Speight, and throwing for three costly interceptions in the second half.
“You can criticize that”, Harbaugh said.
Strong winds and heavy rain affected the game in the third quarter, making it even more hard for the offensively challenged teams to move the ball.
Texas put together yet another lengthy drive, killing half the available time, but Texas stalled in the red zone and Rowland’s game-tying 27-yard chip shot sailed wide right. So far this season, Lewerke has thrown for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions along with 963 yards. The game was delayed for 1 hour, 28 minutes after rain and lightning moved into the area – just moments after Purdue made a 19-yard field goal to take a 16-14 lead with 9:58 left in the fourth quarter. It came to a halt in the second half as the Spartans finished with 158 yards on the ground.
A split with those two teams could make things really interesting depending on other results, and the Spartans are at least capable of challenging Ohio State’s shaky offense. Michigan’s defense is elite and I expect it to stop Lewerke from generating big plays with his legs.