PLANNING A PAYBACK: Michigan won last year's matchup 32-23, ending a three-game losing streak in the series. MI reached the red zone just twice in the game - the opening drive and the short field turned touchdown that MI received following an MSU punt from its own end zone.
"With our defense, we're pedal to the metal", Chase Winovich said earlier this season. "Obviously, we needed to bounce back and we made a commitment to do that as a football team and as a program way back in the spring".
Michigan hurt itself with five turnovers, but Michigan State wasn't doing itself any favors with 11 penalties for 81 yards.
Running backs LJ Scott and Madre London will continue to be the focal point of Michigan State's offense, but the Spartans are getting much better play out of the quarterback spot as well. The defense will have it's work cut out for them in that game.
"It's our second year in the system and everybody is more comfortable", Mike McCray said on Monday. "We were just playing our normal coverage and I was in the right place to make the plays and I was able to make the plays".
The Wolverines kicked a field goal on their first drive, but hardly anything went right on offense the rest of the game. And after nearly 40 minutes of gametime, Michigan finally found the endzone after a pair of 18 and 17 yard pass plays led to a first-and-goal from the half-yardline, 14-10 Michigan State.
Brian Lewerke is Michigan State's leading rusher and his dual-threat capabilities will have to be accounted for with disciplined football. In addition to the five turnovers, the Spartans had a season-high four sacks and now have 13 for the season, two more than in all of 2016. Lewerke threw for only 94 yards, but he had no interceptions and rushed for 61 yards and a TD.
Michigan: The Wolverines miss Speight more than expected.
Jim Harbaugh has had his share of heartbreaking losses as a player and a coach. He has traveled a long and winding road to get to this moment, but he has been a consummate professional throughout the journey.
"They have gotten the better hand since I've been here", Hurst said. "I think Coach D uses it very well for motivation for us, so we definitely don't like that comment". The Michigan offense took a hit last week when they lost quarterback Wilton Speight to an undisclosed injury. O'Korn showcased his escapability several times against the Boilermakers.
Down 14-3 at halftime, MI pulled to within four at the 8:09 mark of the third quarter. O'Korn was under heavy pressure, but somehow spun out of it and delivered a strike downfield for a first down. He's been diligent about staying ready and now he has his chance.
"It's just so much more closer, so much more of a team", Allen said. "Just with the social injustice in the world and a few things that have happened with racism and things like that". The unit is young and still has room to grow, but the offensive line has proven they can move the ball on the ground.
Michigan State: The Spartans have a chance to have a relatively special season in what was expected to be a rebuilding season. The Spartans and Wolverines combined for just 552 total yards in the contest. But a team is rarely going to win when committing five turnovers. MI ranks 63rd in the country in turnover margin.
Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3) lost its third straight to wrap up the toughest four-game stretch in school history against the Commodores' fourth consecutive ranked opponent. You can forget about records and point spreads, none of that matters when these two teams get together.