Wolverines Stumble Late Against Rival Spartan

The Michigan football team fell to 2-6 on the season with a late collapse against the rival Michigan State Spartans. Michigan led 21-14 through the middle of the third quarter, but the visiting Spartans scored the games final 21 points in a 35-21 Spartan win. It's Michigan's first loss to the rival Spartans since the 2001 season.

ANN ARBOR -- It was the kind of back-and-forth battle you'd expect when Michigan and Michigan State meet on the football field. This time, though, for the first time since 2001, the Spartans from Michigan State came out on top. Michigan rallied from a pair of seven-point deficits in the first half, even took its only lead of the game near the middle of the third quarter, but the Spartans dominated the final quarter outscoring Michigan 14-0 in the decisive stanza to send the Wolverines home on the wrong end of a 35-21 decision.

Michigan State running back Javon Ringer and Spartans quarterback Brian Hoyer led the Michigan State offensive assault, the two combining for 456 of the Spartans 479 all-purpose yards in the Michigan State win. Ringer rushed for 194-yards and two touchdowns. Hoyer went for 282-yards and three scores through the air. They each also had a hand in the game-deciding fourth quarter scores.

With just under seven minutes left in the final quarter, Ringer took the ball off-tackle and in from three yards out to give the Spartans their third lead. The Wolverines turned the ball over on their next series, and Hoyer found Josh Rouse on a play-action pass for the games final score.

Michigan quarterback Steven Threet threw for 168-yards and a score, but the Spartan secondary also picked off the redshirt freshman quarterback three times. Brandon Minor led the Michigan ground attack with 55-yards on 15 carries. Martavious Odoms finished with a team-high six receptions for 42 yards.

Just as the Spartans would battle back for the late win, it was Michigan State at the onset that took the lead with the first score of the game. Despite an ominous start with a short 1-yard run by Javon Ringer and a 7-yard loss on a sack by Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, Michigan State converted its first third down with a 23-yard strike over the middle to Mark Dell. Just three plays later, this time on a third-and-five, Hoyer found target Blair White across the middle on a slant that went the distance for a 61-yard score.

A controversial Michigan touchdown late in the quarter later tied the game 7-7. After safety Stevie Brown caused and recovered a Brian Hoyer fumble deep in Michigan State territory, Michigan quarterback Steven Threet found running back Brandon Minor on a wheel route for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The pass was ruled incomplete as Minor's foot grazed the front corner pylon before landing out of bounds, but an official review overturned the call for the 3rd-and-11 touchdown pass.

Michigan State threatened twice more before the half but failed to score on all but its final possession. Kicker Brett Swenson missed short on a 50-yard field goal and had another from 32-yards blocked by Michigan linebacker John Thompson.

Javon Ringer did make it 14-7 Michigan State with a 64-yard scamper down the left sideline with just over a minute to play in the first half, but the Wolverines answered with a late score of their own. Threet found freshman tight end Kevin Koger over the middle for a 35-yard pass into Spartan territory, and after a Michigan State pass interference penalty put the ball on the 2-yardline, Brandon Minor took a handoff from Threet and powered into the end zone.

Michigan took its first and only lead of the game on its second possession of the third quarter. Threet found wide receiver Toney Clemons for 29-yards deep over the middle to the Spartans 22-yardline to set up the go-ahead score. Minor took the next play 20-yards around the right side down inside the five, and Threet rushed it in around the right side on the next play.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer kept the game tied, though, heading into the decisive final quarter. Hoyer found tight end Charlie Gantt in the back of the Michigan end zone to make it 21-21.

Michigan continues its quest to become bowl eligible with a road trip to West Lafayette, Ind., to meet the Purdue Boilermakers next Saturday. The Wolverines must win out to avoid snapping the nations longest active bowl streak. Kick-off is scheduled for noon at Ross-Ade Stadium.

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