Michigan State stuck to their formula, and it worked once again. The Spartans overwhelmed Michigan with suffocating defense en route to a 35-11 win. The Wolverines were held to 186 total yards, half of which came in the fourth quarter after the game was already decided.
The Spartans aren't known for their blistering offense, but they jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. They then sat on that lead, and it felt like there was a real chance the game would end 7-0. Michigan State was not completely sharp, but Michigan was a mess all day, and their mistakes more than made up for any lack of crispness. Jeremy Langford had a big day on the ground, rushing for 177 yards and three touchdowns.
Devin Gardner took a beating and certainly did not receive much help from his Michigan teammates, but this interception in the third quarter was a perfect microcosm of this whole game:
GIF credit: ABC
It got so bad that the Michigan student newspaper just stopped livetweeting the game, at their own fans' request. The good news for Michigan is that they finally were able to score an offensive touchdown against the Spartans. They had been held out of the end zone on offense since 2011, a streak of 11 straight quarters.
Three things we learned
1. It's over, Brady. It's been over, one could strongly argue, but now it's really over. Even if you take the issues with Shane Morris out of the equation, Hoke has proven unable to consistently beat Michigan State and Ohio State. For a program with expectations as high as Michigan, that's simply not good enough.
Hoke may not be fired before the end of the season, but barring something seriously unforeseen, there will be a new head coach walking the sidelines in Ann Arbor next year. Will there be a different athletic director as well?
2. What fourth quarter issue? Throughout the year, Michigan State has displayed a troubling propensity to switch off once they hit the fourth quarter with a lead. It very nearly cost them against Nebraska, but they showed they can play a full 60 minutes against the Wolverines. That's certainly an encouraging sign, but will it continue?
3. Ohio State looms. Barring a significant upset from Penn State or Illinois, the Big Ten East will be decided on Nov. 8th when the Buckeyes come to East Lansing. The winner should be a heavy favorite over whichever team comes out of the Big Ten West, and there are very real College Football Playoff stakes on the line. It's business time.