Earlier this week, I wrote a piece on the things Michigan State needed to do in order to defeat Michigan. Now I’m not going to get full of myself and say I called it, but let’s review how those predictions played out in MSU’s 14-10 upset at the Big House.

Spartan Dawgs come up Big – Outside of Michigan’s opening drive, where the run defense was gashed for 39 yards on 10 of the Wolverines 16 plays, the MSU defense gave up just 63 yards of offense on the ground. To go along with their stinginess, they also had two timely takeaways in the first half.

The first led to the Spartans’ first touchdown.

The second would deny a possible field goal chance for Michigan which would have HUGE implications later…

In the second half with literally NO help from their offense, the Spartan defense stepped up even larger with three interceptions on three consecutive Michigan series, and linebacker Joe Bachie had himself a GAME. Ten tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and he also knocked down the final pass of the game to seal the win.

Offense avoids self-inflicted wounds – Michigan State came out swinging thanks to Bachie’s forced fumble, getting decent runs of 15 and nine yards, and following an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on the Wolverines, Spartan quarterback Brian Lewerke showed how much he wanted this game.

Fast-forward to the second quarter where MSU began a drive on their own 17, and Lewerke is showing complete control of the offense. He hit wide receiver Felton Davis III for nine yards, wide receiver Hunter Rison for eight, tight end Matt Sokoi for nine, and do-it-all Darrell Stewart Jr. for 30 yards. And then, a little Mark Dantonio trickery.

In the second half, the Spartan offense dealt with horrible field position mixed with horrible weather as they battled into the wind in the third quarter, and through a torrential downpour that did nothing for either offense. But while Michigan’s offense was coughing up the ball three more times, the Michigan State offense trusted their defense and didn’t force the issue. They looked putrid at times, but when the offense absolutely needed their first first-down of the second half, Lewerke again was there to answer the call.

The offense was able to bleed more of the clock and force Michigan to make do with just 40 seconds left and no timeouts.

Mark Dantonio Magic – Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has taken a lot of flack over the last year as the Spartans were an embarrassment in 2016. I personally have never understood it, because of the turnover at such key positions, including THE MOST important position of quarterback. It’s interesting to see Lewerke now and wonder what could have been last year had he not been injured against Michigan. But the defense was terrible as well, and it all led to a 3-9 season. Last night Dantonio understood the situation, understood the storm was coming, understood he needed to have a lead before the rain hit. His defense did A TON of the legwork for him, but the fake-end-around-turned Madre London screen pass was a thing of beauty, and it was all the Spartans needed to win this ballgame. Dantonio outcoached Jim Harbaugh and has led Michigan State to an 8-2 record against Michigan in the last decade.

That stat was literally unheard of until last night.  Go Green.

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