12:05 PM ET, November 2, 2002
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
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.
Michigan's Jermaine Gonzales makes a 21-yard catch in the first quarter of the Wolverines' victory.
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 play.
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 contract.
"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 out there.''
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 games.
"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 one.''
Things actually went well in the first few minutes for Michigan State.
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.