ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan beat rival Michigan State the
way it likes to beat everybody -- by dominating the line of
The Michigan rush defense, which entered the game tops in the
nation, allowed only 60 yards Saturday, while the Wolverines
managed 211 on the ground in a 31-13 victory.
For the third straight game, Michigan State's offense sputtered at crucial times, and for the third straight week, the Spartans lost. Drew Stanton managed 252 passing yards, but his 0 TDs and 2 INTs offset any positives he brought to the Big House. Meanwhile, a stingy Michigan run defense held State to a mere 60 yards rushing. Here's a look at Michigan State's last five games, in terms of offensive output.
vs. Notre Dame
vs. E. Michigan
Big Ten rushing leader Mike Hart ran for 122 yards on 22 carries
as the sixth-ranked Wolverines (6-0, 3-0 conference) kept their
national championship aspirations flourishing and retained the Paul
Bunyan Trophy. Michigan is 6-0 for the first time since 1997.
"We do have confidence that we can run the football," Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr said. "We feel like we can run it even when they
have a lot of guys stacked up there."
Hart sat out the fourth quarter after rolling his ankle.
Michigan's training staff had taped it up and Hart said he could
have returned if he wanted to, "but there was no point,"
considering the score.
Michigan ran the ball 42 times and attempted only 17 passes, but
Chad Henne threw for touchdowns on three of them. Two of those went
to Mario Manningham, who has caught eight touchdown passes in his
last four games.
"He has tremendous speed and when he cuts he creates separation
from that corner or safety that's on him," Henne said. "He's a
great player, and he did well today."
Michigan State (3-3, 0-2) dropped its third straight and did
little to take the heat off embattled coach John L. Smith, who has
been criticized by Spartans fans and the media following home
losses to Notre Dame and Illinois the previous two weeks.
"That's an awfully good football team, and we would have had to
play a lot better than we did to win the game," Smith said.
Michigan State played without leading rusher Javon Ringer, who sat
out with a knee injury.
The Spartans now have to deal with No. 1 Ohio State at Spartan
Stadium next Saturday.
"Our kids hung in there," Smith said. "They're banged up.
They're bruised. They're hurting. But we have to get ready for next
Michigan had not allowed a rushing touchdown all season -- a
total of 344 offensive plays -- until 260-pound Jehuu Caulcrick
barreled into the end zone from the 1 near the end of the third
That score made it 24-7, but Michigan answered three minutes
later on freshman Brandon Minor's first touchdown -- a 40-yard run.
The Wolverines led 24-0 following their first possession of the
second half on a 27-yard TD pass from Henne to Manningham. Michigan
State cornerback Demond Williams tipped the pass into the end zone,
where it dropped into Manningham's arms.
Henne also directed scoring drives on three of the first four
first-half possessions, including TD tosses of 41 yards to
Manningham in the second quarter and 13 yards to Adrian Arrington
in the first.
Garrett Rivas' 24-yard field goal gave Michigan a 17-0 halftime
"I think getting off to a fast start was the key. We knew they
were going to stick around and play their hardest," said Henne,
who finished 11-of-17 for 140 yards and no interceptions. "They
have speed on defense and they definitely played well on defense,
so we had to take advantage of field position when we had the
Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton again was unable to lead
the Spartans to a win against their rival, something he said during
the week that he badly wanted to do.
"You can't do anything about it now. We've got six games left
in our season and how we respond is the big thing," said Stanton,
who was 20-of-35 for 252 yards and two interceptions.
Stanton, who scored on a 2-yard quarterback draw that made it
31-13 with 7 minutes remaining in the game, played the game with
bruised ribs, but said they were not an issue.
Few current Spartans were associated with the program the last
time they beat Michigan, a 26-24 win in East Lansing in 2001.
Michigan State hasn't won in Ann Arbor since 1990.
Michigan heads to Penn State for a game next Saturday night.