Saturday, October 15, 2011
Four times a charm for Spartans
Michigan State outscored Michigan 14-0 in the third quarter to break a 7-7 halftime tie, and the Spartans held on to win the Paul Bunyan trophy, 28-14, on a windy Saturday afternoon in East Lansing.
The Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans have been playing each other for over 100 years, but the Spartans have now done something that they had done just three times previously -- beat Michigan four straight times. The last time Michigan State won four consecutive games in this rivalry was 1959-62.
This is the third straight season that the Spartans have handed the Wolverines their first loss of the season. Last year Michigan lost 34-17 in Ann Arbor and struggled the rest of the season, finishing 2-6 after their 5-0 start.
The running game once again was a difference-maker in this rivalry as the Spartans outgained the Wolverines 213-82 on the ground. The team that has won the rushing battle has now won the game in 39 of the last 42 matchups. Michigan came into the game ranked seventh nationally in rushing, averaging more than 270 yards per game.
Edwin Baker rushed for a season-high 167 yards, his first 100-yard game this season, to lead the Spartans rushing attack. Over the last two seasons, Baker has averaged 157 yards per game against the Wolverines and 77 yards in his other 17 games.
Denard Robinson has been one of the most explosive players in the country over the last two seasons, but the Spartans have been able to shut him down in this rivalry. In each of the last two seasons, he was held more than 90 yards below his season average.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Michigan State the rest of this month, as this was the first of three straight games versus ranked opponents. The Spartans host fourth-ranked Wisconsin next week and are at 14th-ranked Nebraska in two weeks.
Around the CFB Nation
• Texas A&M defeated Baylor 55-28 as Ryan Tannehill threw a career-high six touchdown passes, and Ryan Swope set a school record with four touchdown catches. The 55 points scored by Texas A&M are the second-most it has scored against Baylor, behind only a 73-10 win in 2003.
• Wisconsin routed Indiana 59-7 for its sixth straight win this season by at least 30 points. That’s the most consecutive wins by 30-plus points by an FBS team since the 2004 season. Indiana has now lost 14 straight games versus AP-ranked teams.
• Penn State became bowl eligible with its 23-18 win over Purdue. This is the sixth time Penn State has started 3-0 in Big Ten play, and they have won at least a share of the Big Ten title on three of the previous five occasions.
• Miami (FL) avoided its first-ever 0-3 start in ACC play with a 30-24 win at North Carolina. This is the first time in five tries the Hurricanes have beaten the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.