ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan still thinks it got cheated in
the final second of last year's loss to Michigan State. So the
Wolverines (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) didn't waste time putting away their rivals this time.
John Navarre threw three touchdown passes and ran for another
score as Michigan won 49-3, handing Michigan State its worst
defeat since 1947.
Last year, the Spartans won 26-24 in a game marred by
questionable timekeeping at the finish. With no timeouts, Michigan
State quarterback Jeff Smoker scrambled to the Wolverines' 2-yard
line, and he spiked the ball to stop the clock and set up a final
Television replays showed that Smoker didn't throw the ball to
the ground in time, and the clock should have expired. Yet
officials ruled that 1 second remained. Smoker won the game by
lobbing a 2-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Duckett as time expired.
That game cast a shadow over this year's meeting, but Michigan
didn't allow another close finish to happen.
"This feels great, especially after last season's 1-second
issue,'' Michigan cornerback Marlin Jackson said. "There was no
controversy this year, just a straight-up whipping. That's what we
wanted, and that's what they got.''
In addition to beating their top intrastate rival, the
Wolverines (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) bounced back from their worst loss at
home since 1967, a 34-9 loss to Iowa last week.
"We had a bad taste in our mouths all week,'' Navarre said.
The Spartans (3-6, 1-4) are in a tailspin after a promising
start. They've lost four straight by an average of 28.5 points. The
slump has put coach Bobby Williams' job security in jeopardy.
When Williams, who's one of only four black head coaches in
Division I-A, was asked whether he had lost the team, he replied,
"I don't know.''
The Spartans hadn't been beaten this badly since losing 55-0 to
Michigan on Sept. 27, 1947.
Without being asked, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr spoke out in
support of Williams, who has five year left on his rollover
"I think it's very, very important that Bobby Williams be given
an opportunity to fulfill his contract at Michigan State,'' Carr
said. "I just hope that the people that are making that decision
are not making it based on all the pressures and opinions that are
The loss dropped Williams to 16-17 overall at Michigan State and
6-15 in the Big Ten. His teams are 1-9 on the road in conference
"We were totally embarrassed,'' Williams said.
It didn't take long for Michigan to do that to Williams' team.
The Wolverines scored 21 straight points to take control early in
the second quarter, and they added four TDs in the second half.
Damon Dowdell, making his second start in place of suspended
quarterback Jeff Smoker, was 15-of-34 for 178 yards. Star receiver
Charles Rogers caught four passes for 75 yards.
"It's too late for a turnaround,'' Rogers said. "We'll be
lucky if we win another game.''
"We've got a lot of players that just are giving up, pointing
fingers,'' tight end Jason Randall added.
Navarre was 16-of-27 for 229 yards and no interceptions. B.J.
Askew scored two touchdowns and set career highs with 149 yards
rushing on 32 carries. Ronald Bellamy caught five passes for a
career-high 124 yards and two TDs.
Jackson deflected his 15th pass of the season, tying Charles
Woodson's school record.
Askew said the Wolverines were motivated because of the way they
lost to Michigan State last year.
"It was on my mind a lot during spring ball and two-a-days,''
he said. "That made it even more important for us to win this
Things actually went well in the first few minutes for Michigan
The Spartans forced Michigan to go three-and-out on its first
possession, then Dave Rayner kicked a 39-yard field goal.
The Wolverines then seized control with three straight
touchdowns. Askew scored on a 2-yard run on a fourth down, and
Navarre plunged for a 1-yard TD before he found Bellamy for a
38-yard score to give the Wolverines a 21-3 lead.
In the third quarter, Navarre threw a 12-yard TD pass to Bennie
Joppru and a 47-yard TD pass to Bellamy. Askew's 1-yard run early
in the fourth quarter made it 42-3.
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