“You never think you’re going to be that good,” defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. “Our kids fight their tails off every day in practice. We had another good week of practice and now we have a week off from games but we’ll come back and have another good week of practice — and then another one after that and get ready for Nebraska.”
The Wolverines had vowed Saturday wouldn’t be a repeat of the game in East Lansing in 2011, when Michigan State’s physicality was too much for Michigan.
This one turned out to be even more impressive for the Spartans.
“Two years ago was nothing,” Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen said. “It was a lot worse (Saturday), and I think they felt it.”
It was the most lopsided loss for Michigan (6-2, 2-2) in the series since 1967.
“We need to go 100 percent every single play and some plays we didn’t do that,” Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan said.
The game could be summed up in two ugly offensive sequences for Michigan. In the second quarter, with the ball near midfield, a shotgun snap sailed over quarterback Devin Gardner’s head for a loss of 20. Following a sack on third down and a Michigan penalty, the Wolverines finally punted on fourth-and-48.
Down 16-6 in the third, Michigan caught a break when Raymon Taylor intercepted a pass, giving the Wolverines the ball at the Michigan State 41.
Gardner lost 5 yards on what appeared to be a designed run, then Allen sacked him for a loss of 9. Michigan called a timeout, then Gardner was sacked again for a loss of 7, leaving the Wolverines punting on fourth-and-31 to start the fourth quarter.
“We basically lived in the backfield,” Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard said. “We just did a great job stopping them, containing them, and making plays when they were there.”