The win marked the second time in school history that Michigan State has won six of seven meetings with the Wolverines (1956-62) and it came in dominant fashion.
A year after holding Michigan to minus-48 rushing yards, the Spartans held Michigan to 173 total yards and 68 rushing yards on 28 attempts.
The Spartans used a strong rushing effort on offense with 219 yards, led by Jeremy Langford’s career-high 177 yards and three touchdowns. It was Langford’s 12th straight game with at least 100 yards against a Big Ten opponent.
He got the Spartans on the board on the first drive of the game with a two-yard run. The score was set up after quarterback Connor Cook faked the jet sweep to Shelton, kept it with room to run. He lowered his shoulder into Michigan safety Delano Hill and got up with some words for him, which resulted in Hill pushing him and being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct to put the ball at the Michigan 2. Jeremy Langford punched it in from there for a quick 7-0 lead for Michigan State.
Michigan State’s defense forced a punt, but the offense went three-and-out. Punter Mike Sadler shanked the kick to returner Amara Darboh, who was tackled by Chris Frey, who was flagged for targeting on a helmet-to-helmet hit and was tossed from the game.
The Spartans got the ball right back as Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner faked a handoff to De’Veon Smith, but fumbled the ball in the process. Defensive tackle Lawrence Thomas recovered the fumble that MSU 38.
Behind plenty of run plays – eight straight at one point – the Spartans drove to the Michigan 5 before the drive stalled. Defensive end Frank Clark stuffed Cook after he faked a jet sweep to Shelton again then on third-and-goal defensive end Chris Wormley got to Cook at the UM 19 – just the fifth time he had been sacked this year.
Michael Geiger’s 36-yard field-goal attempt was wide right, his fourth straight game with a miss and the score stayed 7-0.
Aaron Burbridge caught a fade from Cook for a 25-yard gain with one hand, pinning the ball against his chest as Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis was flagged for pass interference. On the next play, Burbridge broke free, but Cook overthrew him in the end zone. MSU turned the ball over on downs after Cook’s throw for Kings on fourth-and-7 sailed out of bounds.
The Spartans’ defense pushed the Wolverines back and forced a quick three-and-out.
The drive went nowhere, but kicker Matt Wile knocked through a 48-yard field goal to pull Michigan within 7-3 with 3:30 left in the half.
The Spartans came back strong as Langford burst through a big hole on the first play after the field goal and gained 24 yards to the Michigan 49. An 18-yard screen pass from Cook to Langford put MSU at the UM 7 and three plays later Langford powered the ball in for his second touchdown of the day.
The Spartans struck first in the second half, this time on defense. On third-and-11 from their 21, Gardner threw into coverage and R.J. Williamson picked it off and raced outside for a 29-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead.
Michigan got the ball back, but was forced to punt after four plays. Michigan State struck again immediately, as Cook hit Lippett down the sideline for a 70-yard score and a 28-3 lead in the third. Lippett ran a double move on Hill, as Cook threw it to his back shoulder. Lippett turned back, caught the ball and as Hill looked back for the ball, Lippett was off to the races.
The Spartans committed three 15-yard penalties on the next drive as Malik McDowell was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, Jones was called for roughing the passer and Trae Waynes was flagged for pass interference. The Wolverines drove down to the MSU 10 and went for it on fourth-and-5 as Gardner scrambled away from pressure, but Williamson sent him spinning with a tackle just short of the marker.
On the next Michigan drive, the Wolverines hit a pair of first downs through the air as Gardner connected with Funchess for 16 and Darboh for 17. But two plays later Gardner was under pressure from Malik McDowell and tried to shovel pass it away, but it fell into the hands of Jones, who made a diving interception at the MSU 25.
Langford fumbled with 5:24 to go and it was recovered by Clark, giving Michigan its third possession starting inside the Michigan State 33. This time, the Wolverines took advantage as Smith ran in from the 1-yard line. The Wolverines went for two and Gardner found Jake Butt for the conversion to pull within 28-11.
The Smith rushing score broke a touchdown drought that spanned back to the 2011 meeting – a total game time of 186:09.
Langford capped the scoring for Michigan State with his third rushing score of the day from five yards out with 28 seconds left.