(Saturday, October 9th)
Final Score: (17) Michigan State 34, (18) Michigan 17
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Edwin Baker, Le'Veon Bell, and Larry Caper recorded one rushing touchdown apiece, as the 17th-ranked Michigan State Spartans handled the 18th-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 34-17, in a battle between these two Big Ten rivals at Michigan Stadium.
Baker carried the ball 22 times for 147 yards for the Spartans (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who have won three straight games against Michigan for the first time since 1965-67. Bell rushed for 78 yards on seven carries.
Kirk Cousins completed 18-of-25 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown in the annual battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Mark Dell hauled in three passes for 93 yards and a score.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio returned to the team after missing the previous two games. A mild heart attack and a blood clot in his leg led to multiple trips to the hospital for Dantonio, who coached from the press box on Saturday.
"I have great respect for Michigan and outstanding respect for coach [Rich] Rodriguez and the job that they do," Dantonio said. "You embrace rivalries; that's the way I've coached wherever I've been. It's good for college football, and it's good for fans."
Heisman Trophy candidate Denard Robinson connected on 17-of-29 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions for the Wolverines (5-1, 1-1), who own a 67-31-5 edge in the all-time series despite the loss. Robinson also carried the ball 21 times for 86 yards and a score.
"We hurt ourselves with a couple of interceptions, and there were definitely some points down there," Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "It's the same old thing: you ought to be able to stop them running when you know they're going to run. We can't do that right now, and we've got to figure it out and get better for next week."
The Wolverines moved the ball to the MSU 10-yard line on the opening possession of the game. Robinson, though, was picked off in the end zone on third down.
Michigan State failed to take advantage of the turnover and punted the ball back to Michigan. Seth Broekhuizen capped a 13-play, 73-yard drive with a 34- yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 1:25 remaining in the first.
The Spartans scored a touchdown early in the second quarter to take the lead. Baker followed an eight-yard run with a 61-yard scamper for a TD to make it 7-3 with about 11 1/2 minutes to go until half.
Michigan State held its four-point lead following Martell Webb's 12-yard touchdown catch and Bell's 41-yard TD run.
The Spartans were able to put three more points on the board prior to the half. Faced with a 4th-and-3 from the Michigan 39, B.J. Cunningham caught a 10-yard pass. Dan Conroy made a 38-yard field goal a few plays later to give Michigan State a 17-10 margin.
A 51-yard pass from Robinson to Martavious Odoms had the Wolverines in field goal position with three seconds left. However, Michigan State blocked the field goal attempt.
The Spartans struck quickly in the second half. On the fifth play, Dell beat his man down the left sideline and hauled in a 41-yard TD pass for a 24-10 lead.
Michigan moved the ball to the MSU 12-yard line on its ensuing possession. Robinson, though, was intercepted by Johnny Adams. Michigan State used power football to essentially put the game away. Caper ended a 10-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown run to make it a 31-10 contest with 4:55 remaining in the third.
Robinson's four-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter cut Michigan's deficit to 31-17. However, Robinson made another huge mistake on the Wolverines next possession as Chris Rucker recorded the third interception of the game for the Spartans.
Conroy's 28-yard field goal with 7:14 to go accounted for the final margin.
Michigan is 34-22-2 in the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy...Five of the last seven games in the series had been decided by eight points or less, including three overtime games (2004, 2005 and 2009)...The Spartans had 249 yards rushing, compared to 162 for the Wolverines...Robinson had just one interception coming into Saturday's game.
10/09 20:16:49 ET