Michigan State has questions to answer on and off the field following loss to Michigan


Two MSU defenders attempt to tackle Michigan running back Blake Corum on Oct. 29, 2022/ Photo credit: Sarah Smith

Liam Jackson, Sports Editor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan State was dominated in the second half of its rivalry game against Michigan on Saturday and. The No. 4 Wolverines moved to 8-0 with a 29-7 victory at home.

The physicality of the game continued once the clock hit zero. Video captured multiple MSU players fighting one Michigan player near the visitor locker room. 

“I don’t know what happened,” said head coach Mel Tucker. “I know it was a heated game. Things were heated. We were trying to get our guys in our locker room and we’ll have to figure out what happened.”

Tucker was visibly upset and answered questions quicker than normal in the press conference.

He said that there was nothing to address to his team in the locker room regarding the incident because he didn’t know what happened.

After a competitive first half, the Spartans were held to negative 18 rushing yards. MSU mustered only 8 total yards in the third quarter and ran six plays; Two three and outs. 

MSU was down 12 points going into the fourth quarter. The deficit would have been much larger if it weren’t for the Spartan defense holding up on their own side of the field. Michigan kicker Jake Moody. Moody was 5-5 on field goals with a long of 54 yards.

Blake Corum scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to put the Wolverines up 22-7 and he struck the Paul Bunyan pose, signifying the end of MSU hopes.

Corum has been one of the best running backs in the country all season. Michigan stuck with its bread and butter. The Wolverines dominated the time of possession and rushing attack. Michigan had the ball for 40 minutes, while MSU had the ball for 19. The rushing game was even more lopsided. 276 yards to 37.

Michigan State’s first drive of the game began positively. The Spartans found open space and moved the ball near midfield in only two plays. After a 17-yard run by Jayden Reed, penalties piled up. A Jarrett Horst unsportsmanlike conduct penalty effectively ended any momentum the Spartans had and Baringer was sent on to punt.

Squandered first-half opportunities also plagued MSU. The Spartans were stopped on fourth and short twice. Michigan scored on its ensuing possession both times.

Keon Coleman was unquestionably the star of the first half for MSU. His ability to leap and beat defensive backs for catches was on full display. Coleman finished with five catches, 155 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Payton Thorne lobbed two passes Coleman’s way at the end of the first quarter. The first was hauled in over a Michigan corner to convert on third down. Thorne and Coleman connected on an eerily similar play for a touchdown a few plays later. MSU led 7-3 after the first quarter.

Senior captain Xavier Henderson missed multiple games with a leg injury before returning two weeks ago. He has been vocal in the past about his feelings toward Michigan. Henderson made his presence known early with a forced fumble that ended the Wolverine’s first possession of the game.

Henderson called the intensity of the game “standard.” He also was unwilling to speak about the fight after the game.

Tucker was 2-0 in his first two games against the Wolverines, becoming the first coach in Michigan State history to do so. On Saturday night, however, his team was out-played and out-coached. 

The Spartans fall to 3-5 on the season with four games left on their schedule. After a noncompetitive loss, MSU has more questions than answers regarding its play on the field, and now off of it.