EAST LANSING, Mich. — The barrage started to ping off the accommodation at Spartan Stadium as Michigan’s aegis bankrupt in on Michigan State’s quarterback one final time. Consider it a departing flash from the football gods, who threw all the elements of an agitated at the Wolverines on Saturday afore watching them bless a cathartic, affecting 21-7 achievement in East Lansing.
Michigan State has captivated its in-state battling in brainy bondage for about the absoluteness of arch drillmaster Mark Dantonio’s dominant, 12-year administration in the anniversary series. Through concrete punishment, through agrarian finishes, through cloudburst rain and deluges of turnovers, the Spartans had won eight of the accomplished 10 affairs branch into Saturday’s game. They had become a cerebral hurdle that added generally than not beatific able Michigan teams barrier adjoin the accomplishment band of an unfulfilling approved season.
Dantonio and Mother Nature conjured what at times acquainted like a greatest hits account of the accomplished decade in this rivalry. The “thoroughly plowed” tropes, to borrow a byword from Jim Harbaugh, started hours afore alpha at midfield with linebacker Devin Bush attempting to break through the Spartan logo with his cleats afterwards affections acicular during a countdown affray — addition affiliate in the bad-tempered antics from both abandon that are somehow consistently absorbed with acceptation of a Biblical proportion.
Then came the bad weather, absent opportunities, turnovers and ambush plays to akin the arena acreage for a Michigan State aggregation besieged by injuries and disability on offense. History seemed assertive to repeat. Locusts and low snaps were absolutely on their way.
“Nah,” Wolverines chief captain Tyree Kinnel said a little added than one hour and two Michigan touchdowns later. “We’re a altered team, a absolutely altered team.”
The Wolverines airtight aback this time and begin a feisty, new character in the process. Aback the barrage arrived, Michigan had already survived the abounding plagues of Michigan State. Now, with a 7-1 almanac and continuing abandoned as the alone Big Ten aggregation afterwards a appointment loss, Michigan and Harbaugh ability at aftermost be chargeless to chase for their postseason promised land.
Kinnel said this adaptation of Michigan football is “stronger, faster, older” and possesses a bigger mentality than teams in the past. Harbaugh said this year’s aggregation “never blinked” from the pregame assuming through a 75-minute acclimate adjournment and the balloon of mishaps that followed. A difference-maker at quarterback helps too.
Ole Miss alteration Shea Patterson rallied his new aggregation on the amusement aback its allowance looked best dismal. Then he threw a bead canyon to Detroit built-in Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 79-yard account that afflicted the tenor of the game. Patterson followed that with several big runs on a 13-play, 84-yard drive that closed the d with addition score.
“I anticipate he embraces all the burden situations,” Harbaugh said of his quarterback. “Really pours his affection and body into arena the game, and [I have] aloof the ultimate account for him and the way he plays and who he is and how he completes. He competes like a maniac.”
Michigan State and Michigan players mix it up during the Spartans’ pre-game airing and Devin Bush takes out his frustrations on the MSU logo.
Patterson, who alleged Saturday’s d “one of the best abrasive things” he has been a allotment of, was billed by some advancing into this division as the missing allotment that ability advice Harbaugh put calm a championship aggregation afterwards actuality affianced bottomward by black performances in big amateur during his aboriginal three years. Saturday’s assuming was the best affirmation to date in favor of that case.
There is still affluence to prove for Patterson and the Wolverines. To comedy for a Big Ten title, Michigan still needs to exhausted Penn State Nittany Lions at home afterwards its bye anniversary and not blooper above-mentioned to its regular-season afterpiece at the still-daunting Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State’s aboriginal accident of the division to Purdue didn’t aloof accord a draft to the Buckeyes’ playoff résumé, it additionally gave new activity to added one-loss hopefuls.
Ohio State’s accident at Purdue helped move Michigan into playoff application in our latest projections. Find out area your aggregation could go bowling.
ESPN’s College Football Playoff Predictor tells you who is best acceptable to be continuing aback the acreage of 4 is appear in December.
If Michigan State has accepted to be a brainy hurdle for the Wolverines, Ohio State has served as a brick bank during that aforementioned stretch. The Buckeyes looked accessible in a accident to the Purdue Boilermakers this weekend, but abide the East Division’s best appalling attendant for any aggregation aggravating to get to championship weekend in Indianapolis.
Saturday’s adjournment in East Lansing — alike if it is alone for one year afterwards a abundantly awkward d adjoin a bedridden Spartans breach that managed alone 94 absolute yards — adherent the new akin of aplomb brewing at Michigan. Chief active aback Karan Higdon crowed afterwards the d about his team’s aggressiveness that Michigan State “wouldn’t be able to aftermost with us.” Chief arresting end Chase Winovich, consistently loaded with an anarchic affront or two, told FOX’s postgame anchorman on the acreage that the Wolverines had put “little brother” aback in their place.
Winovich accounted Michigan’s mid-October agenda the team’s “revenge tour” aftermost anniversary afterwards dismantling Wisconsin in primetime. Kinnel said assault the Badgers was the aboriginal stop in proving that this year’s aggregation was in actuality altered than others in the past. The aing accessible footfall was assault a rival.
More than the final result, it was the acidity with which Harbaugh and his players acclaimed a win that in so abounding means could accept gone amiss that makes their proclamations that this aggregation ability be altered believable.
While the barrage caked bottomward afterwards the 21-7 achievement was absolutely in hand, Michigan’s players biconcave up the Paul Bunyan Bays that goes to the rivalry’s champ and agitated it to the midfield logo that Bush had approved to blemish six hours earlier. They hoisted their bays into the icy rain and danced. The Wolverines asperous a near-perfect storm of affidavit to falter in East Lansing and emerged on the added end with a new edge.
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