Denard Robinson probably summed up the day best.
“I got a little beat up,” said the Michigan quarterback Saturday afternoon after his Wolverines were defeated by Michigan State Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium, 28-14, in East Lansing.
So did his Michigan teammates as the No.11-ranked team fell for the first time this year to go to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play. Michigan State, ranked No. 23, is 5-1, 2-0.
It marked Michigan State’s fourth straight win in the bitter in-state rivalry, first for the East Lansing school since the 1950s.
“Now we can walk down the streets of Michigan knowing that for the rest of our lives,” said Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins, a fifth-year senior from Holland, Mich.
Robinson missed the ending of the game after he was banged to the turf in the final minutes after a rugged tackle by MSU’s Marcus Rush that resulted in a roughing the passer penalty. Michigan State was whistled for 13 penalties for more than 100 yards but Michigan could not take advantage.
“Football is a dirty game,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said when asked about the numerous MSU penalties. “They were more physical than we were. We needed to be more physical. We missed too many tackles.”
The extent of Robinson’s injuries were not known but Hoke said it was not a concussion and Robinson told the Michigan radio network, “I’m fine.”
Robinson came into the game as the Big Ten leader in total offense and he scored Michigan’s first touchdown, on an opening drive, 15-yard run and passed for the other score on a 34-yard pass to Roy Roundtree.
But Robinson struggled, hitting only 9 of 24 passes for 123 yards, oftentimes into the teeth of 30-miles per hour wind. But Cousins has little trouble throwing, hitting 13 of 24 and had two scoring passes to Keyshawn Martin, from 13 and 10 yards away.
Michigan had a chance in the fourth quarter, cutting the Spartan lead to 21-14 with under nine minutes to play and the Wolverines took over with 4:40 to play and were looking for a chance to tie the game. But Robinson threw an interception, his fourth in three games, to linebacker Isaiah Lewis, which was returned 34 yards for a touchdown.
Edwin Baker led Michigan State with 167 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. It was his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. The Spartans had more than 330 yards of total offense to 250 for Michigan.
“We have to be more consistent and we have to play a lot better than this,” said Hoke. “You’ve got to hand it to Michigan State.”
Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs said his team has a lot to work on.
“They just pounded on us,” Kovacs said. “We couldn’t stop them.”
It marked the third straight year Michigan was unbeaten before losing to Michigan State. The last two seasons, the Wolverines struggled badly after losing to the Spartans.
“I can guarantee you that’s not going to happen again,” Kovacs said. “I promise you that.”
Michigan is off next week and returns in two weeks to host Purdue in a homecoming game that will be broadcast on ESPN at noon.
For more info: mgoblue, annarbor.com, espn