Michigan State overcomes blown call vs. Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—Michigan State gathered in a corner of the Big House, celebrating with their fans and hearing jeers that had to be music to their ears.
“Little Sis-ter!” the green-and-white clad crowd chanted. “Little Sis-ter!”
A year after Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as little brother, the Spartans showed how much their program has grown.
Javon Ringer’s second touchdown broke a tie midway through the fourth quarter and Brian Hoyer’s third touchdown pass padded the lead, lifting Michigan State to a 35-21 win over once-mighty Michigan on Saturday.
Hart didn’t have a chance to back up his trash talk, but the Indianapolis Colts running back did witness the rare result in the rivalry.
“Mike said, `Congratulations and good luck for the rest of the year,”’ Ringer recalled.
Michigan State (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) had not knocked off the Wolverines since 2001, when T.J. Duckett scored with a disputed second on the clock, and was winless at the Big House since 1990, when Desmond Howard was tripped in the end zone and no penalty was called.
Coincidentally, the Spartans overcame a blown call to snap their longest losing streak against Michigan in three decades.
Michigan tied the game in the first quarter when the replay official overturned a correct ruling on the field, giving Brandon Minor a TD because his foot hit a pylon.
The NCAA rule book, however, states: “A player or an airborne player who touches a pylon is out of bounds.”
Referee Dave Witvoet recited the rule verbatim to a pool reporter, but deferred further comment to the Big Ten.
“More than that I can’t say anything else,” Witvoet said.
Michigan State ended up making it moot.
“I’m just glad we won the football game and don’t have to deal with that,” coach Mark Dantonio said.
The Spartans outgained Michigan 473-252, their highest total in a win at Michigan Stadium in a half-century and their most lopsided victory in the rivalry since 1967.
“I’ll go on the record as saying this one counts as more than one,” Dantonio said. “We took a step forward in the eyes of the people in Michigan and toward changing the culture in this state.”
Michigan State—7-2 for just the third time in 40 years—will wake up Sunday tied for second place in the Big Ten with Ohio State after No. 3 Penn State beat the No. 10 Buckeyes 13-6 on Saturday night.
Ringer ran for 194 yards and two scores on 37 carries. Hoyer was 17-of-29 for 282 yards and a season-high three touchdowns. Blair White scored on a 61-yard reception to start the scoring and finished with four catches for 143 yards.
“They deserved to beat us,” said Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, who guaranteed a win. “I was just having a little fun with what I said last week, trying to pump up my team and put pressure on them.”
Steven Threet was 13-of-26 for 168 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. He scored on a third-quarter run, giving Michigan its only lead.
Minor ran for 55 yards and a score.
The Rich Rodriguez-led Wolverines (2-6, 1-3) are having their worst season since 1962, when they finished 2-7 and tied a school record for losses. They’ve lost four games at home for the first time in four decades and four in a row overall for the first time in 41 years.
“You need to play hard and well,” Rodriguez said. “We are not doing that.”
College football’s winningest program has to win its final four games— three of which are on the road including one at Ohio State—just to be eligible to play in a 34th straight bowl game.
“This was not the fall of Michigan football. That’s not what this is about,” Dantonio said. “This is a great win for our program.”