Michigan 23 – Michigan State 27
It’s not over until the clock shows 0:00. This one will sting for a while, not only for the players but for the fans as well. Truthfully, Michigan State won a game that they were supposed to win. Although Michigan was favored, MSU is ranked higher and undefeated. No one should have expected a cakewalk, no matter how much MSU has struggled to begin the season.
Rushing Offense against MSU
Michigan struggled to run the ball but never strayed from what has made them so successful this year.
Fullback Sione Houma was the most effective runner, taking two of his three carries for touchdowns. Houma ran for 30 yards. Outside of Houma, De’Veon Smith was the next best thing. Smith carried 19 times for 46 yards but wasn’t able to get much going, finishing with an average of 2.4 yards per carry.
Michigan’s offensive line showed grit but could not get the three yards they needed to secure the game. On 3rd and three in the final seconds of the 4th quarter, MSU shut down any chance of De’Veon Smith getting positive yardage, which forced a Michigan punt.
MSU’s front seven was strong as ever. Linemen and linebackers consistently found themselves in the backfield to stuff Michigan’s run game.
Passing Offense against MSU
Jake was Jake. Rudock threw the ball 25 times for 15 completions. He continues to struggle throwing the deep ball- missing an open Jehu Chesson down the sideline is becoming a weekly occurrence. This part of the offense must be fixed.
Chesson dropped a crucial ball in the 2nd half that would have continued a drive late, but overall he played well.
Jabrill Peppers lined up in the backfield and in the slot, taking two passes for 35 yards. His explosiveness was much needed to add some spark to a somewhat stagnant offense. Michigan managed only 230 total yards, 168 of those from Rudock through the air.
Rushing Defense against MSU
The rushing defenses in this game mirrored one another. There wasn’t much room to run, and Michigan defenders were in the MSU backfield often, only allowing 58 yards rushing.
The Wolverine defense took a blow in the 1st half when Captain Joe Bolden was ejected for an iffy targeting call. James Ross and Ben Gedeon filled in to take Bolden’s place with no let up.
Gerald Holmes led the Spartan rushing charge with 33 yards on 8 carries (4.1 avg).
Passing Defense against MSU
Jourdan Lewis had himself a battle from the very beginning of the game. Probably the most exciting matchup of the day, Lewis was stuck to MSU wide receiver Aaron Burbridge all day. That did not deter MSU QB Connor Cook from looking his way as the two players talked trash and battled relentlessly.
Burbridge was targeted 19 times, finishing with nine catches for 132 yards. Lewis finished with six pass breakups and seven tackles.
The rest of the Michigan secondary has had better days. Safety Delano Hill looked to be lost on the 75 yard pass play to the fullback, and Jeremy Clark was beaten on a double move by wide receiver McGarrett Kings, Jr. for a touchdown.
They held Cook to less than 50% passing, going 18 for 39.
Punter Blake O’Neill started the day booming an 80 yard punt, the longest of his career. He would trade that one for a redo on the final play of the game. Set to win the game, all O’Neill had to do was punt the ball away and it would have been game over. That didn’t happen, as he dropped a low snap and inadvertently threw the ball into the hands of the defender. Rough way to end the afternoon. Outside of that, Michigan dominated the special teams battle.
Kicker Kenny Allen was 3-for-3 on field goals attempts.
- Week One Preview: Michigan vs. Florida at JerryWorld - Sep 2, 2017
- Crossroads: The State of Michigan Basketball - Feb 13, 2017
- Team 137’s Bowl Game Preview: Orange Bowl vs Florida State - Dec 30, 2016