ANN ARBOR - The No. 17-ranked Michigan State Spartans slowed Michigan superstar quarterback Denard Robinson, plus intercepted him three times, including twice in the end zone, as the Spartans downed No. 18 Michigan on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan State outscored the Wolverines 31-7 over the games middle quarters, the games decisive stretch, scoring on five straight possessions. Quarterback Kirk Cousins hit 18-of-25 for 284 and one score and Edwin Baker ran 22 times for 149 yards and a touchdown.
"It's the same old thing: you ought to be able to stop them running when you know they're going to run," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said following the loss. "We can't do that right now, and we've got to figure it out and get better for next week."
Denard Robinson completed 17-of-29 passes for 217 yards for the Michigan offense, but three interceptions, two in the Spartan end zone, to just one touchdown toss did in the Michigan offense.
"He just wasn't as sharp today. I don't know what reasons; I'll have to watch the film. Coach [Rod] Smith will watch the film with him and see where he's at. His eyes were in the right frame of mind. He might have been pressing a little bit. Sometimes that happens; a guy wants to make plays and he presses a little bit instead of letting the game just come to him. I think there were a few runs that he made where he had a chance to just hit it but he was a little more hesitant than normal."
Robinson was also the Wolverines leading rusher with 84 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
In the opening quarter it was the Wolverines that opened a 3-0 lead. Kicker Seth Broekhuizen put Michigan up 3-0 on the Wolverines second possession of the contest. Michigan went 73 yards on 14 plays before the drive stalled at the Michigan State 17.
Three minutes into the second quarter the Spartans claimed their first lead of the contest. On first-and-10 from the Spartans 39 Baker took a handoff right on a stretch play. A gaping hole opened back to the left and the Michigan State back cut back across the grain racing 61-yards to the Michigan end zone.
Not long after Michigan took its last lead of the contest. Martell Webb hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass with 8:07 left in the half to cap a nine-play 60-yard drive. Robinson kept the scoring drive alive on third-and-three with a scramble to move the chains before finding Webb alone on the left side after rolling the pocket to the right.
Michigan State added 10 more points before the half, a long 41-yard scamper up the left side by Le'Veon Bell and a Dan Conroy field goal with just 28-seconds left in the half.
Michigan State's lead grew to 31-10 10 minutes into the third quarter. Mark Dell's double move on the left sideline got the Spartan receiver behind Michigan freshman Cullen Christian for a 41-yard score out of the intermission. Then, after the Wolverines moved the ball 58-yards to the Spartans 12 before Robinson's second end zone interception, Michigan State went 93-yards on 10 plays, nine of which were runs, to go up three scores on a Larry Caper 8-yard score.
Michigan trimmed the lead to two touchdowns on the first play of the fourth quarter but got no closer. Denard Robinson found the end zone on a four-yard run up the left side with 14:56 left in the contest.
Michigan State added a final field goal halfway through the fourth quarter to put the game away.
With the loss the Wolverines fall to 5-1 on the season and 1-1 in Big 10 play. Michigan returns to the Big House to meet the Iowa Hawkeyes next Saturday afternoon.
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