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Michigan makes easy work of the Spartans in blowout fashion

November 16, 2019
<p>Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell (8) brings in a pass during the game Nov. 16, 2019 at Michigan Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Wolverines, 44-10.</p>

Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell (8) brings in a pass during the game Nov. 16, 2019 at Michigan Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Wolverines, 44-10.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan State came into Saturday's game knowing it needed to fight to pull off an upset.

But for that to actually happen, the Spartans had to fight for more than a quarter.

Michigan State held a 7-0 lead against No. 14 Michigan through 15 minutes. But, it was all Wolverines after that.

Michigan tacked on 24-straight points en route to a 44-10 win to retain The Paul Bunyan Trophy for the second consecutive year.

With the loss, Michigan State's losing skid stretched to five games and put its season on DEFCON 1.

The Spartans drew first blood Saturday afternoon, ending a nine-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brian Lewerke to Max Rosenthal. A 30-yard catch by Cody White down to the goal line set up the score, and Lewerke found his fullback out of the I-formation on the next play.

But that was all of the offense the Spartans could muster in the first half. The Wolverines scored on its next four drives to produce a stranglehold-like lead. And by the end of the third quarter, it was an absolute rout.

"Hung in there initially," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "I think the third quarter hurt us with the first interception and the beginning of the fourth quarter, the blocked punt exchange there sort of turned it ugly."

Hassan Haskins tied the game at seven two-plays into the second quarter when he scored on a 1-yard touchdown from the Wildcat formation. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson led the Wolverines on a 12-play, 98-yard drive that was capped with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Nick Eubanks to give Michigan a 14-7 lead.

After a 28-yard field goal by Quinn Nordin to end the half, and a Lewerke interception by Ambry Thomas in the third quarter, the Wolverines struck again with a 18-yard touchdown pass from Patterson to Donovan Peoples-Jones.

Patterson finished 24-for-33 for 384 yards and four touchdowns while Peoples-Jones added four catches for 48 yards and a score. Ronnie Bell led Michigan in receiving with nine catches for 150 yards.

Lewerke finished 17-for-30 for 166 yards, one score and two interceptions.

Matt Coghlin (35 yards) and Nordin (49 yards) traded field goals in the third quarter to keep Michigan's lead at 17 points at 27-10. One play after a blocked punt by Khaleke Hudson, Patterson connected with Nico Collins for a 22-yard touchdown pass to extend Michigan's lead to 34-10 in the fourth quarter.

Collins caught three catches for 45 yards and a score.

Nordin added a 33-yard field goal with 10 minutes left. And with 2:33 left, Patterson connected with Cornelius Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 44-10.

"Obviously very ugly fourth quarter," Dantonio said. "Too many problems, too many situations. Credit Michigan. They played extremely well on defense and offense. Talked about them having shock. You got to play and respond with that same type of shock and explosiveness."

Michigan State's 27-point loss was its worst deficit against its in-state rival since the 2002 season when Michigan won 49-3.

The Spartans (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) now have zero room for error the rest of the season to reach postseason eligibility. They make their last road trip of the season next week when they head to New Jersey to take on Rutgers on Nov. 23 (noon, FS1). MSU will host Maryland to end its regular season Nov. 30.

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