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Saturday, October 25, 2008
Little Brother takes over the Big House

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

By all accounts, Michigan State should have beaten Michigan today.

The Spartans are superior on both sides of the ball. They have more experience. They have more familiarity with their head coach and their schemes.

But when it comes to Michigan State, games that should be wins often don't turn out that way, especially against Michigan. And after last week's 45-7 home loss to Ohio State, some braced for a typical Spartans slide.

"They're going to say that same-old-Spartans mantra," linebacker Adam Decker told me this week. "They have no reason not to say that until we give them a reason to prove them wrong."

There's a reason now.

After falling behind 21-14 in the third quarter, Michigan State scored 21 unanswered points to win 35-21 and snap its six-game losing streak to Michigan.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer, who some wanted benched in favor of Kirk Cousins, turned in a huge game with 282 passing yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Running back Javon Ringer, who said he'd be embarrassed if he went through college without beating Michigan, returned to top form with 194 rush yards and two touchdowns. The secondary came up big and the defense held the rushing game in check.

Michigan State needed to beat Michigan this year, and the Spartans have officially turned a corner behind Mark Dantonio. Michigan once again showed its a team that can't put together a complete game.

A complete half? Sure. Even a solid three quarters. But not a full 60 minutes.

It will get better for the Wolverines, but not this season.

The quarterbacks aren't right and several potential weapons (Terence Robinson, Junior Hemingway) are banged up. Rich Rodriguez deserves some criticism for this season and the defense has underachieved, but almost every team goes through something like this, and it's Michigan's turn.