ANN ARBOR, Mich. – With coach Mark Dantonio back in the stadium, No. 17 Michigan State took advantage of three interceptions by Denard Robinson and scored 24 unanswered points to break open a close game and beat No. 18 Michigan 34-17 on Saturday.
The Spartans (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) trailed midway through the second quarter before their scoring binge, which allowed them to beat their rivals for the third straight time. It's their longest winning streak over the Wolverines since 1965-67.
As expected, Michigan (5-1, 1-1) struggled to stop Michigan State, but both teams had to be stunned by Robinson's inability to make many plays with his arm or his feet.
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins threw for a touchdown and handed off to Edwin Baker, Le'Veon Bell and Larry Caper for three scores, giving Dantonio a reason to smile. He was back coaching from the pressbox nearly three weeks after a mild heart attack.
The Spartans seemed to rattle Robinson, intercepting a pass in the end zone on the opening drive of the game and picking off a third pass after he scored to pull Michigan within two TDs on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Robinson accounted for nearly 2,000 yards of total offense in his first five games, against only one interception, but wilted in his first true test against a good defense.
He was 17 of 29 for 215 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, but made the three costly turnovers and ran for a season-low 86 yards — with a long of 16 — on 21 carries.
Cousins, meanwhile, avoided turning the ball over and threw for 284 yards and a score.
Baker ran for 147 yards, Bell had 78 yards rushing and Caper chipped in enough to help the Spartans roll up 249 on the ground, striking a balance that gave Michigan's lackluster defense plenty of problems.
Michigan State, which was five-point underdog, earned its most-lopsided victory in the series since beating the Wolverines 34-0 in 1967.
As the Spartans ran out the clock on the final drive, green- and white-clad fans seemed to outnumber those in maize and blue and began jeering the Wolverines by chanting "lit-tle sis-ter!" along with "Go green! Go white!" in the emptying Big House.
College football's winningest program has not beaten Michigan State in football or men's basketball since former Wolverines running back Mike Hart referred to the Spartans as Michigan's little brother.
(This version CORRECTS No. 17 Michigan St. 34, No. 18 Michigan 17; Corrects dateline.)