Michigan's Comeback Falls Short at No. 23 Michigan State
MGOBLUE Drew Dileo
MGOBLUE
Drew Dileo
MGOBLUE

Oct. 15, 2011

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• Video: Highlights | Coach Hoke | Denard Robinson | Mike Martin

Site: East Lansing, Mich. (Spartan Stadium)
Score: #23 Michigan State 28, #11 Michigan 14
Records: U-M (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten), Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten)
Attendance: 77,515
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Oct. 29 -- vs. Purdue (Michigan Stadium), Noon

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- A late Spartan interception for a score thwarted the University of Michigan football team's (No. 11 AP/No. 10 USA Today Coaches) fourth-quarter comeback in a 28-14 loss at Michigan State (No. 23 AP/No. 19 USA Today Coaches) on Saturday (Oct. 15) at Spartan Stadium, which saw gusts of wind 40-50 miles per hour throughout the game.

The series trend continued as MSU outrushed the Wolverines, 213-82, in U-M's first loss of the season. The winner of 39 of the past 42 matchups between these two teams has won the rushing battle as well. MSU pressured the U-M quarterbacks throughout the afternoon as the Maize and Blue surrendered seven sacks and punted the ball seven times.

Michigan came out of the tunnel prior to the game sporting unexpected white legacy jerseys, a road version of the uniforms worn against Notre Dame on Sept. 10. The white pants honored the uniforms worn by the 1974-75 Wolverine teams.

The two teams matched up evenly in the first half, as the score showed 7-7 and the rushing yards 95 for Michigan and 100 for Michigan State.

U-M struck first, driving 80 yards on the opening possession of the game. The drive was fueled by a 26-yard run by junior running back Vincent Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) and a fake field goal run for a first down in Spartan territory. Junior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach), on the 10th play of the drive, scrambled left on a broken play and knocked over the pylon for a 15-yard rushing touchdown to put Michigan up, 7-0.

On the ensuing drive, the Spartans took the ball 63 yards on nine plays, culminating with a one-yard touchdown run by junior running back Edwin Baker.

The rest of the first quarter and throughout the second, the two squads locked in a stalemate. Despite combining for 18 first downs, there were seven punts in the first half. Sophomore punter Will Hagerup (Milwaukee, Wis./Whitefish Bay) pinned MSU inside its own 20 yard-line three times.

Freshman defensive back Blake Countess (Owings Mills, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) led the Wolverines in tackles with five in the opening 30 minutes, while senior/junior linebacker Kenny Demens (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day) and senior/junior safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay) each tallied three. Robinson led the Wolverines rushing attack with 42 yards and added 39 in the air.

The second half showed an array of big plays and scoring. Michigan State added three touchdowns to its first-half lead, while the Wolverines could only rally for one more score in the second half.

On their first drive of the second half, the Spartans took the ball 54 yards and scored on a 10-yard pass to senior receiver Keshawn Martin to go up, 14-7. Late in the third quarter, MSU scored on another touchdown reception by Martin to take a 21-7 lead.

Heading into the fourth quarter down, the Wolverines' offense rallied to score on a 34-yard pass from Robinson to junior wideout Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) to cut the deficit to seven points. The score was Roundtree's 12th of his career and second of the season.

Michigan State started its next possession with the ball on its own 21 yard-line, only to fumble for the second time of the game. Junior J.T. Floyd (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann) caused the fumble. Michigan took over in MSU territory but was eventually stopped on fourth-and-one to turn the ball over on downs.

With 4:31 left in the game, Robinson threw his first interception of the game, which the Spartans returned for a touchdown to extend their lead to 28-14.

Robinson, who left the game with an injury late in the fourth quarter, threw for 123 yards and a score to go with his 42 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) added 45 yards through the air. Roundtree reeled in a team-best four passes for 66 yards and a score.

Sophomore safety Thomas Gordon (Detroit, Mich./Cass Technical) led the defense with seven tackles, while Kovacs and junior Craig Roh (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) each added six.

The Wolverines take their bye week next Saturday (Oct. 22) before facing Purdue on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Michigan Stadium in their next contest. Kickoff is set for noon, with television to be announced.

Contact: Justin Dickens (734) 763-4423


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