Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Madre London in the second quarter put the Spartans ahead of their long-time rival Michigan 14-3. It would be all the points that head coach Mark Dantonio’s team would need as Michigan State, known for years as University of Michigan’s ‘little brother,’ beat the Wolverines for the eighth time in 10 years.
What used to be seemingly impossible has now become commonplace for Dantonio and the Spartans. In the 40 years prior to the 2008 season, Michigan State had defeated Michigan exactly eight times. The Spartans have won the same number of games against their rival in the past decade. What’s even more impressive is that MSU has won four of the five games played in Ann Arbor at Michigan Stadium.
Lewerke, a sophomore, completed only 11-of-22 passes for 94 yards, but he ran 15 times for 61 more and scored Michigan State’s first touchdown on a 14-yard run in the first quarter. London, who caught the scoring pass from Lewerke, ran 10 times for 59 yards as MSU rushed for 158 total yards against a very good Michigan defense.
The Spartans defense was even better. MSU held the Wolverines to just 102 yards rushing and if not for being backed up deep in their own territory in the third quarter might not have given up a Michigan touchdown. Michigan State punted from its own two-yard line and gave the Wolverines the ball at the Spartans 33 near the midpoint of the third quarter. Four plays later, Khalid Hill scored on a one-yard run.
MSU forced three John O’Korn interceptions as Michigan turned the ball over five times. O’Korn started for the injured Wilton Speight who could possibly miss the rest of the season. Speight has several cracked vertebrae and there is no estimation as to when he could return. One thing is for sure – the Wolverines’ offense was awful at best with O’Korn in the lineup.
The Spartans are now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. They will face Minnesota on Oct. 14. Michigan travels to Indiana, a team that has given the Wolverines some fits in the past. Michigan dropped to No. 17 in the latest AP poll while the Spartans finally cracked the Top 25 coming in at No. 21.
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