ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan’s offense did enough to beat Michigan State on Saturday.
It just didn’t happen.
Why? Well, in a game that lacked big plays on the ground, Michigan outrushed MSU 62-58. But when the Wolverines needed to covert a key 3rd-and-3 first down run to secure the win and run out the clock, their offensive line wilted against MSU’s defense, forcing U-M to punt with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
That one play proved costly.
Michigan punter Blake O’Neill bobbled the snap, tried to kick it, and unknowingly threw the ball to open MSU defender. That defender, of course, was Jalen Watts-Jackson, who rumbled down the sideline for MSU’s improbable 38 yard game winning touchdown return, as the Spartans stunned U-M, 27-23, in the dramatic win.
Looking more closely, U-M (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) only managed 230 yards of total offense against MSU, coverting only 10 first downs.
Jake Rudock completed 15-of-25 passes for 168 yards, but might be remembered for missing a streaking Jehu Chesson late in the fourth quarter that could have iced the game.
U-M running back De’Veon Smith rushed for 46 yards on 19 carries. Sione Houma led Michigan with two rushing touchdowns.
Again, Michigan’s offensive number weren’t eye opening -- at the time -- they were good enough to get the win, before that one last play. But one play can make a difference between winning or losing, and MSU’s miracle finish is proof of that.