Saturday, October 9, 2010
Instant analysis: MSU 34, Michigan 17
By Adam Rittenberg
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Instant analysis from Michigan Stadium, where No. 17 Michigan State beat No. 18 Michigan 34-17 for its third consecutive win in the rivalry.
How the game was won: Michigan State kept Denard Robinson from making big plays and not only forced several mistakes from the Michigan quarterback, but made all the big plays on its own. The Spartans displayed tremendous balance and creativity on offense and gashed a shaky Michigan defense for three touchdowns of 40 yards or longer. Pat Narduzzi's defense made Robinson go to the air, and "Shoelace" showed his inexperience with several poor decisions in the passing game.
Turning point: Michigan State took control with a five-play, 68-yard touchdown drive to open the second half, attacking Michigan for another big-play score. Even after Michigan regained some momentum early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans' secondary came up big with its third interception, a Chris L. Rucker pick on an ill-advised deep pass by Robinson.
What it means: Michigan State is a bona fide Big Ten title contender after back-to-back impressive wins against ranked opponents (Wisconsin and Michigan State). The Spartans continue to own the state and notched their first three-game win streak against Michigan since 1965-67. MSU also gained confidence in its first road game, which is important with upcoming trips to Northwestern, Iowa and Penn State. Michigan learned Robinson is human, especially as a passer, and that it'll have a hard time winning without the big play. The Wolverines will hear a lot about a 2009 redux now, and they need to bounce back next week against Iowa.
Stat of the game: Denard Robinson entered the game with just one interception in 96 pass attempts through the first five games. He threw three interceptions in his first 27 attempts against Michigan State, which already has eclipsed its interceptions total from 2009 (6) by three.
Best call: Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell continued to strengthen his case to be a future head coach with another well-called game. His best decision came in the third quarter during a run-heavy scoring drive, when he had Keshawn Martin run an end-around before pitching the ball back to Kirk Cousins, who found Keith Nichol for a 42-yard gain. Michigan State scored two plays later to take a 31-10 lead.
Player of the game: Michigan State sophomore Edwin Baker showed why he's one of the best running backs in the Big Ten. Baker showed home-run speed on a 61-yard touchdown and also displayed tremendous power as he recorded another big rushing performance.