That was a beatdown. We’ll get that way out of the way first. The game was closer than that for a while – especially after MSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead – but Michigan pulled away with 17, 10, and 17 points in the final three quarters, respectively. The Spartans ended up with 54 rushing yards and 220 yards overall, while Michigan had 467 total yards, including 384 through the air.
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Both teams were stupid. The total number of penalties wasn’t exorbitant, but the number of idiotic plays was large. Michigan State had 7 penalties for 93 yards, while Michigan had 9 penalties for 91 yards. Maybe the referees were just concentrating on the dirty and unsportsmanlike stuff, so they didn’t worry about holding, blocks in the back, etc. Regardless, the number of drives extended by penalty was somewhat ridiculous. At one point Michigan State had “earned” five first downs due to Michigan penalties. Kwity Paye hit MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke late. Carlo Kemp jumped offsides and then tried to blame it on an offensive guard that didn’t move. Tarik Black made a largely nondescript catch for a first down, promptly flexed for no reason, and was immediately assessed a 15-yard penalty.
But Michigan State is stupider. After Shea Patterson threw a quick pass, Michigan State defensive lineman Jacub Panasiuk took a running start at Patterson’s back and laid him out after 4 extra steps. For that he was immediately tossed by the referee, who deemed it to be a flagrantly dangerous and illegal play. That was the right call, and I thought the officiating crew did a good job of being aware that there would be some extracurricular activity taking place during this game. Meanwhile, backup quarterback Dylan McCaffrey made an entrance for one play, when he threw a backward pass to Patterson, who was lined up out wide. It was a dumb play call in the first place, but a Michigan State player took a similarly flagrant and dangerous run at McCaffrey. It would/should have been called roughing the passer if only the pass had been forward, but since it was a lateral (the equivalent of a handoff or pitch), the quarterback doesn’t have the same protections. Even so, it could have been deemed unnecessary roughness since it was on the opposite side of the field. That’s not exactly what you want to see if you’re concerned about McCaffrey’s health…unless you’re Michigan State and you’re perfectly happy to see a cheap shot.
Bench Ronnie Bell! He only caught 9 passes for 150 yards, which is clearly inferior to Mike Sainristil’s 2 for 21.
Was this Shea Patterson’s best career game? He completed 24/33 passes for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. He used his legs well a couple times, but 3 sacks and an awkward trip left him at 8 carries for -15 yards. That’s actually the third-most yards in a single game he has thrown for, but the top two games on that list came against South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin when he was at Ole Miss in 2017. Patterson had never topped 300 yards or thrown more than 3 touchdowns wearing the winged helmet. Going back across the past season and a half, I don’t think Patterson has looked better throwing the ball. He’s not playing perfect ball and leaves a few plays on the field, but he looked pretty dang good.
This was the right outcome. Michigan is the better team. Michigan is more talented. Jim Harbaugh is a very good coach. Mark Dantonio, as much as I hate him, is also a good coach. But the recruiting and the injuries and, well, karma bit Dantonio in the ass. There have been times when this rivalry game was closer than it should have been, regardless of the difference in recruiting stars or injuries or whatever. A 44-10 beatdown is a true indication of the separation between these two programs right now.
Screw Mark Dantonio and his band of dirty players.
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