Michigan 21, Michigan State 7

Michigan 21, Michigan State 7


October 21, 2018

Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via The Michigan Daily)

Thoughts on the pre-game scuffle. A brief recap of the events that took place prior to the game: Supposedly, Michigan State was 10 minutes late for their warmup, which they begin with an arm-in-arm walk down the field; their lateness meant that some Michigan players were already stretching on the field, so they walked right through the Michigan players (Lawrence Marshall, Lavert Hill, and others), resulting in a physical altercation. Without that context, it looked pretty unsportsmanlike for Devin Bush, Jr. to tear up the Spartan in the middle of the field with his cleats, digging an “L” into the grass. Provided that context . . . I shrug my shoulders. Tradition or not, MSU’s team doesn’t need to walk arm-in-arm the entire length of the field and make physical contact with the opposing team’s players. The rule in football is that each team stays on its own side of the 50-yard line in pre-game warmups. If you need to get to the other end of the field, you use the sidelines.

Hit the jump for more.

Thoughts on the post-game comments. Jim Harbaugh says MSU’s actions were “bush league” and that Mark Dantonio was 5 yards behind the dustup with a smile on his face the entire time. Video confirmed it. Mark Dantonio denied it. Dantonio is a lying liar who lies, working at a school that promotes denial and institutional cover-ups. Not that this event is on the same level as issues with Larry Nassar and Tom Izzo, but when you see co-workers get away with much worse for years, what disincentive is there to carry yourself with dignity?

 

Kudos to the offensive line. It may not have seemed like Michigan’s offensive line did a great job, but MSU was allowing 2.34 yards/carry and was #1 in overall rushing defense (62.3 yards allowed/game). Michigan averaged 3.5 yards/carry and netted 183 rushing yards. Those numbers aren’t stellar, but they’re solid, considering this was the #1 rush defense in the nation. Not many big runs were broken, but Michigan allowed just 5 tackles for loss (on non-sacks), 1 of which was a jet sweep play that didn’t have much to do with the line.

Michigan got lucky that MSU’s offense sucks. Michigan’s defense is obviously very good, but that Michigan State offense is putrid. I haven’t seen many (any?) worse performances by a quarterback than Brian Lewerke’s, in which he finished 5/25 for 66 yards and ran 4 times for -11 yards. That’s a 20% completion percentage, and he finished with 55 yards on 29 plays in which he was directly involved. Oh, wait – he caught a 4-yard touchdown pass on a trick play, so make that 59 yards on 30 plays.

I found myself muttering under my breath a lot during MSU’s final drive. Michigan State was able to march down the field with a little over two minutes remaining, purely because Michigan was undisciplined. There was a late hit out of bounds, a pass interference, a roughing the passer call, etc.

The officials were weird. I saw Chase Winovich get leveled from behind (should have been a penalty) after the play (should have been a penalty) with no call. I saw Cesar Ruiz getting bent back after the play, and no flag was thrown until Michael Onwenu came in to shove the offender. I saw MSU’s Tre Person with illegal hands to the face (should have been a penalty), Donovan Peoples-Jones shove him (should have been a penalty), and then Person throw a punch (should have been an ejection). The result? Off-setting penalties. It seemed like the referees were looking for reasons to hand out off-setting penalties, hoping that the threat of an ejection would keep those guys in check. It worked, I guess, because nobody was ejected, but the punishments didn’t seem to fit the crimes. On top of all that, Karan Higdon and Devin Bush were both hit with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for what looked like nothing, the weirdest of which was Higdon’s from when he simply seemed to stand up after being tackled. Michigan ended up with 9 penalties for 99 yards, while MSU had 4 for 40.

I hate Michigan State. The end.

43 comments

  1. DonAZ
    Comments: 397
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Oct 21, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    Michigan State is a program with an inferiority complex. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. It manifests in stunts like the field walk after Michigan was already on the field, the dirty plays, and all the foolish talk about “respect.” This series gets even uglier going forward. I hope Harbaugh keeps this game as a focus for stomping MSU for the next several years.

    Good to see Michigan take a solid W out of this. The score could have been more lop-sided, but the less-than-100-yards by MSU’s offense tells the story.

  2. Comments: 8
    Joined: 10/8/2017
    pureWmich
    Oct 21, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    Great to see the bigblue victory! Great defense! Need to get points when you start near midfield..
    One question mark, what’s up our kicker? Thunder, any thoughts? Who’s behind him and is it time to give someone else a try.
    Lastly,
    How about Purdue.. could they represent the west in the big10 championship game? Have Iowa and Wisky at home..
    Side

    • Comments: 848
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Oct 21, 2018 at 11:49 AM

      Purdue is all of a sudden looking like the team that nobody wants to play. Where OSU’s running game went I have no idea, but Purdue exploited their weaknesses perfectly, and they have found their identity on offense. Harbaugh could take a lesson from their fourth quarter play calling. When you have a quality opponent down in the 4th quarter, keep kicking them. Don’t let them up.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 21, 2018 at 11:56 AM

        Purdue ran plenty to bleed clock, they were just successful at it.

      • Blue in NC
        Comments: 42
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Blue in NC
        Oct 21, 2018 at 7:16 PM

        They certainly looked very good vs OSU. But let’s also remember that Purdue is 3-3 and lost to EMU. I don’t know if we want Harbaugh trying to copy that.

  3. Comments: 848
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Oct 21, 2018 at 8:40 AM

    The offense still leaves way too many points on the field. When we were 2nd and 5 at the MSU 30 with a 7-0 lead, that was the time to take the game by the throat, and they couldn’t. And why they didn’t go for it on 4th and 10 at the 35 and instead took a penalty so they wouldn’t look as silly punting into the end zone is a total mystery.

    Great performance by the defense, though. Lewerke looked terrible, but we made him look terrible. He had no open receivers to throw to all day, and nowhere to run. The absence of Rashan Gary makes me wonder if we’ve seen the last of him in a Michigan uniform. He may be following Nick Bosa’s example and just getting healthy for the draft, but not saying so yet. Fortunately, it does not appear that we’ll miss him.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3827
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 21, 2018 at 11:01 AM

      There’s various rumors out there but I’ll be honest – I don’t expect to see Gary play another game at Michigan. Would be nice to get him back for OSU.

      • Comments: 848
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 21, 2018 at 11:45 AM

        Not even that worried about him for OSU. Based on our last two games, how much better can our defense be with him in there, especially when he won’t have played in almost two months and is going to be rusty even if he does come back?

        Maybe he’s contemplating just writing this year off and coming back full strength next year. Would be nice, but I tend to doubt it. I think he’s focused on the draft combines and isn’t much concerned with his legacy at Michigan. Which frankly, at this point, will be that of a very good, but unmemorable player.

  4. TriFloyd
    Comments: 30
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    TriFloyd
    Oct 21, 2018 at 8:46 AM

    After the Karan Higdon penalty, Karan was making hand motions as if to communicate to the referees that an MSU player was twisting him (probably his leg/ankle). I need to watch the tape closer to see if Karan made some sort of kicking motion to stop the MSU player. That scenario seems to fit the model of MSU/UM penalties … a) MSU player does something dirty; b) UM player gets upset or tries to protect himself to avoid injury from the hands in face/hands around ankles trying to twist.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 3827
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 21, 2018 at 11:00 AM

    Spot on.

    Lewerke claims he’s hurt and based on how inaccurate he was – that might be true. Still, give our D the credit. Lewerke threw for 300 some yards against Northwestern and 260 against Penn State coming into this game. Everybody was covered. 4 sacks and consistent pressure.

    The officials were better than I expected. MSU offense didn’t give them much to work with.

    • gobluetwo
      Comments: 37
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      gobluetwo
      Oct 22, 2018 at 9:27 AM

      Given how crappy Lewerke looked, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was injured. I assumed we’d see more designed runs or options, but didn’t see any of that. And his passes were just horrendous. Perhaps the coaches WERE trying to protect him.

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 3827
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 21, 2018 at 12:15 PM

    Best things from yesterday:

    W in EL.
    Dominated on D, again. Outstanding pass coverage + tackling, again.
    Uche off the edge again.
    OL consistent against a legit D.
    Rivalry enhanced.

    Annoying things:

    No Gary. (+People acting like Gary doesn’t matter.*)
    Evans’ fumble.
    Nordin’s kicking.
    Ugly weather & ugly football.
    “Objective” media not calling out Dantonio’s BS.

    *
    Hey it’s great that Kwity Paye is stepping up and Josh Uche is a pass-rushing terror but Michigan D is at it’s best when it can rotate freely on the DL (e.g., Charlton/Winovich + Wormley/Gary). Without reliable backups Michigan is more susceptible to getting worn down.

    The drive to diminish one of Michigan’s best players, who was playing hurt for this team all year BTW, is rather baffling. Because of recruiting rankings? Because media praised a good player? Because of NFL potential? OK! It’ll be so fun to tear down a really good football player who got attention for it.

    Paye is good. Gary is better. It would be great to have them both healthy for the division title game in Columbus. Michigan’s chances of beating OSU are better with Gary than without. The end.

    • Comments: 962
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 21, 2018 at 1:07 PM

      The media did call Dantonio out a bit. On BTN’s The Final Drive, they showed Dantonio walking behind his guys, smiling-they even circled him. Later, they aired his postgame denial

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 21, 2018 at 2:12 PM

        The national (e.g., ESPN) coverage and local (e.g., Det News/Freep) coverage is ‘objective’ covering “both sides”. The altercations are framed as tit-for-tat rivalry stuff.

        Here’s an example from detroit news:

        “But that ended up secondary to the other storyline that began before the game and had Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh calling Michigan State “bush league” with Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio responding, “That’s BS.”

        Before home games, Michigan State’s players link arms and walk the length of the field. Typically, no one from the opposing team is on the field. But several Michigan players were, including linebacker Devin Bush. As the Spartans walked toward midfield, the Michigan players stood their ground leading to an altercation that was mostly words.”

        Let’s call it like it is – Dantonio is an embarrassment to public university. How he behaves off the field and how he runs that program – there’s not excuse for it. But he gets a pass because he has won.

        Dantonio loves his guys to take these petty cheap shots, wants to engage in public arguments with teenage players, and runs his program with deplorable character year in and year out. Nobody outside of the Michigan fanbase calls him out on his garbage, even as he’s caught lying overtly .

    • Comments: 848
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Oct 21, 2018 at 1:10 PM

      Fine, then answer the question you avoided before: Based on our last two games, how much better can our defense be with him in there, especially when he won’t have played in almost two months and is going to be rusty even if he does come back?

      And do you disagree that if Gary never plays another down for Michigan, that his legacy will be that of a very good, but unmemorable player, one of many similar guys who’ve gone through the mill at Michigan? Do you agree or disagree that in that case his career here will not have lived up to expectations (reasonable or not)? Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but at this point he seems to be on a glide path to the NFL draft, and isn’t interested in trying to ever contribute at Michigan again. That’s fine, he has his own interests to look out for, but if that’s the case, he should just say so openly like Bosa, and be done with it. Thanks for what he’s done here, but I’ll save my future praise for the guys who are out on the field.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 21, 2018 at 1:53 PM

        They can be exactly 86.7 units of goodness better with Gary than without. Science.

        You’re making up a hypothetical about rust. I shrug.

        I remember Rashan Gary now and expect to remember him in the future. He was a key contributor on 2 of the best defenses I’ve ever seen (2016 & 2018).

        I don’t really care about your expectations. As a freshman, Gary was excellent backing up Wormley (who was also excellent – per awards, nfl draft position, and my eyeballs). Not disappointing in the least. He was all-conference as a sophomore starter. Not disappointing in the least. If Northwestern was his last game in a Michigan uniform he would have been a significant contributor for half a season on what looks like the #1 defense in the country. I will remember him for playing through a shoulder injury that got aggravated and file him in a similar bucket with Jabril Peppers – who was also great in a UM uniform (per the various accolades, awards, NFL draft position, defensive unit excellence, etc.).

        You want to be pissy and ungrateful for a guy who got injured it’s up to you. I think that makes you a bad fan and a jerk.

        • Comments: 848
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Oct 21, 2018 at 9:41 PM

          So calling him a very good player is ungrateful? And are you going to call every fan who criticizes a player or says they haven’t lived up to expectations a “bad fan and a jerk”? Then you should be prepared to stick that label on about 98% of the fan base, incising yourself. And since you’re dodging direct questions and resorting to personal attacks and playground insults instead, I’d say you know you have nothing in the way of an argument.

          Let’s recap. I said that Gary has been a very good, but not a great player, and that he had fallen below the expectations of the vast majority of the Michigan fanbase for the #1 recruit in the country. All 100% true, but it’s got your knickers in a knot for some reason.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 21, 2018 at 9:56 PM

            I think I answered every question you asked, no matter how silly.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 21, 2018 at 10:00 PM

            98% of the fanbase doesn’t criticize players for getting hurt

          • Comments: 12
            Joined: 9/28/2015
            Asquaredroot
            Oct 22, 2018 at 2:28 AM

            And you’re also saying he’s forgettable and we’re not gonna miss him and at least the ‘Windy’ portion of your user name is apropos.

        • Comments: 12
          Joined: 9/28/2015
          Asquaredroot
          Oct 22, 2018 at 2:23 AM

          Well Spaketh!

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 21, 2018 at 1:55 PM

        I don’t see Bosa’s disinterest in “playing school” as beneficial to anyone other than, maybe, himself. He can do whatever he wants but I don’t see how that’s better than finishing up your semester and supporting your team.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM

        Solomon’s return helped Michigan against Wisconsin & MSU. Counter-example to hypothetical rust.

        • Comments: 848
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Oct 21, 2018 at 9:46 PM

          And Wisconsin, who has a much better offensive line than OSU, and an all-American running back, didn’t score at all on us in the second half until garbage time. Counter-example to hypothetical “getting worn down” without Gary. I shrug.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 21, 2018 at 9:57 PM

            How many carries did Taylor have in the second half?

            • Comments: 848
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Oct 21, 2018 at 11:08 PM

              Obviously not enough to wear our Gary-less defense down.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3827
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Oct 21, 2018 at 11:19 PM

                Now you’re talking sense.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 21, 2018 at 9:58 PM

            OSU doesn’t play at Wisconsin’s tempo.

            • Comments: 848
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Oct 21, 2018 at 11:13 PM

              If you think Paye, Hutchinson and Uche aren’t enough, fine. Those guys are all better than anyone Purdue had.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3827
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Oct 21, 2018 at 11:25 PM

                Yes, I’d rather put a 1st round NFL pick and returning all-conference performer on the field against Ohio State than a true freshman and a linebacker.

                That said, if OSU continues to be a one-dimensional pass offense the damage is admittedly less severe since Paye and Uche are excellent pass-rushers. I’m guessing OSU is able to address some of the run game problems by Thanksgiving.

      • Comments: 12
        Joined: 9/28/2015
        Asquaredroot
        Oct 22, 2018 at 2:21 AM

        WindyCityBlowHard,
        You are getting me down.
        Even if it turns out you’re right, this quote speaks volumes about your own character and provides no value otherwise:

        “Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but at this point he seems to be on a glide path to the NFL draft, and isn’t interested in trying to ever contribute at Michigan again. That’s fine, he has his own interests to look out for, but if that’s the case, he should just say so openly like Bosa, and be done with it”

        No, you don’t have to be a homer, but you also don’t need to be such a petty blowhard.

        We all wanted Rashan Gary to come to UofM, he reciprocated and I don’t think any of us can say he hasn’t given his best effort and played through pain, injuries, egregious holds that the refs ignored, cheap shots and more.

        So let me make it crystal clear:
        Even if he is folding – which I have no idea – he’s done more for this program than your petty stake-in-the ground cheap take gives him credit for and he will not be soon forgotten.

        Hopefully he’ll play for us again to build on the already significant legacy, and YES, we are much better with him than without him – what another sorry opinion you provided btw.

        Ridiculous

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 3827
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 21, 2018 at 2:48 PM

    Looking ahead to PSU and OSU.

    PSU and OSU will be the best offenses Michigan will see all year. Wisconsin is/was on the same level in some stats, but based on points per play OSU and PSU are both ahead of Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Purdue slowed down OSU last night but they still threw for a ton of yards and Haskins was on target. Michigan struggled early to stop Wisconsin (on the ground) and Notre Dame (through the air) but locked down in the second half. PSU has been nearly as good as Wisc on the ground and solid in the pass game. Their balanced attack will test Michigan. OSU is elite through the air will be an all new challenge for defense, regardless of the PSU outcome.

    Neither PSU nor OSU are on Notre Dame’s level defensively. PSU isn’t far off though. They’ve been better than MSU and will prove a stiff test for this offense. OSU has been mediocre to bad on defense, not just against Purdue. For now that matchup doesn’t look too scary.

    As for stakes – the OSU game is everything. With MSU and Wisconsin behind Michigan and OSU’s win over PSU The Game is a de facto playoff. The Purdue game didn’t change anything. The UM-PSU game won’t either.

    • Comments: 962
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 21, 2018 at 4:23 PM

      Both games will test our secondary. We tend to get to the QB with exotic blitzes, but will need front4 pressure to help out our DBs. I don’t like our chances against an accurate QB, so we’ll have to rattle both
      I’ll be hoping for jarring hits like Lewerke took early, and a turnover to further frustrate Mcsorely/Haskins

      • Comments: 12
        Joined: 9/28/2015
        Asquaredroot
        Oct 22, 2018 at 2:36 AM

        Agree with the bit about accurate QB’s. PSU and OSU have me the most worried for that reason.
        Remember how SMU made our defense look suspect… even bad at times? Their QB was on fire and putting the ball on target repeatedly.
        One of the main reasons we lost to ND was the erratic armed Wimbush was dropping dimes all over the field on us. He was nearly perfect in the 1st half.
        An accurate QB is tough to beat. And while our pass rush is good, it will disrupt at most 10-15% of the passes on a good day. That’s leaves a lot of passes from 2 of the top QB’s around that our secondary will still need to defend.
        But I’m optimistic that Don Brown and his D will find a way.

      • GKblue
        Comments: 268
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        GKblue
        Oct 22, 2018 at 6:31 AM

        Agree.

        Even if our defense plays great and holds PSU and OSU to well below their season averages our offense has to show up early. Best defense is a good offense, eat the clock, don’t kill drives with turnovers and penalties.

    • Comments: 4
      Joined: 9/21/2015
      evey1975
      Oct 21, 2018 at 5:46 PM

      Wouldn’t say the Purdue game didn’t change anything. It could be a disqualifier for OSU, like the Iowa game last year. Think of it this way: Of all the 1-loss teams, who has a worse loss than 49-20 @Purdue?

      And in terms of the East division race, that game was huge. U-M now can lose to Penn State and still control its destiny. Or, MSU could clinch the division for us by upsetting OSU in EL.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 21, 2018 at 9:53 PM

        If OSU wins out they’ll almost surely be in the playoff – true before Purdue and after.

        The winner of UM-OSU will win the east – true before Purdue and after. (because of tie-breakers).

        Purdue loss only matters if OSU loses again. Last year, OSU would have been fine losing to Iowa if they hadn’t ALSO lost to Oklahoma.

        The Game is The Game. Purdue affects the rankings but not the stakes.

        • Comments: 962
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Oct 21, 2018 at 10:53 PM

          That’s not true. If LSU beats Bama, the SEC will send two to the playoffs. ohio will need ND or Clemson to lose in order to get in

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 21, 2018 at 11:19 PM

            That’s not true.

            Also it’s unlikely so it doesn’t really counter my point about OSU/Michigan.

            There’s a lot of college football left, so many chaotic things can happen. Regardless, it does not look like Purdue beating OSU is particularly relevant to the Big Ten East teams right now.

      • Comments: 12
        Joined: 9/28/2015
        Asquaredroot
        Oct 22, 2018 at 2:38 AM

        We can lose to PSU but only control our destiny w/respect to the B1G championship.
        No hope of getting into the playoff with 2 losses.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3827
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 22, 2018 at 2:39 PM

          Priorities Ranks

          1. Beat OSU
          2. Win Big 10
          3. Play in Rose Bowl
          4. Make the playoff*
          5. Beat PSU

          I’m assuming a playoff invite would come as a 4-seed vs 1-seed Alabama. I’d rather play the Pac12 champ in the Rose Bowl. Michigan fans are whiny and cannibalistic, so I’d just assume skip the 8 months of negativity that come with ending the season on a loss, no matter how good the rest of the year was.

          • Comments: 962
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Oct 22, 2018 at 11:43 PM

            Wait, what? You’d rather UM miss the playoffs, than read fan complaints about a loss to bama? Couldn’t you just… root for your team, and then stay off message boards?

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3827
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 23, 2018 at 12:00 AM

              Sorry you don’t like the opinion I wrote on a message board…

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