Going into the game, 40 of the last 43 meetings between these in-state rivals were won by the more dominant rushing team. After holding Michigan rushers to negative yardage (-48 yards rushing overall), Michigan State made it 41 out of 44.
The Spartans’ defense lived in the Michigan backfield the whole game, recording seven sacks on quarterback Devin Gardner. The defense set the tone, but the offense also came to play against the No. 21 Wolverines. Quarterback Connor Cook led the way with 252 yards passing with a touchdown and interception. Jeremy Langford continued his dominance in the rushing game, adding 120 yards and a score.
There was a lot of talk throughout the week about which team could be more physical, and Michigan State showed that they were the aggressors.
Perhaps the defining drive of the game came after Cook threw his only interception to Raymon Taylor.
Michigan took over possession at the Spartan’s 41-yard line, but Michigan State recorded three straight sacks and forced a punt. The Spartans responded with a 56-yard drive that ended with a Connor Cook rushing touchdown.
This Spartans squad got their defining victory they were looking for, helping their push for a Legends Division title.
“They’ve got a good football team, but we’ve got a great football team,” Spartans’ Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi said.
Michigan State improved their record to 8-1 on the season, with a perfect 5-0 record in Big Ten play.
Dan Tyler is the host of Spartan Red Zone for Impact Sports.
Photo: Michigan State Spartans