Michigan 33 MSU 37 – Game 8 Recap


Final Score: 33-37, MSU by 4 over Michigan
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 3.5 (-7.5)
CD Projection: Michigan by 10 (-14)



It was incomplete. All of it. Any facet of this game that you look at, there is a lot more good to talk about than there is bad. But, Michigan didn’t finish. The game plans on both sides were solid, but didn’t adjust once the Wolverines were up 16 in the 3rd quarter and MSU had to empty the clip.

Offensively, Michigan got off to a rocket start by surprising everyone with a first-half passing clinic. Andrel Anthony burst onto the scene with a 93-yard touchdown, and Cade McNamara was pin-point accurate.

When the Wolverines pushed it to a 30-14 lead, I assumed Michigan would salt this away. The only questions was whether Haskins or Corum would be the one hammering. Somehow, that didn’t happen. This was the first negative EPA run performance of 2021, and it deserves a much closer look. There would be a lot on this film to be excited about offensively, if Paul B. was on the bus back to Ann Arbor. But…he ain’t.

It was sickening to listen to the FOX broadcast team highlight Mel Tucker’s pregame quote: “…body blows…In the championship round, we think they’ll flinch…” It was sickening because it was happening in front of our eyes. Defenders got out of the run gaps, and Kenneth Walker made us all pay. Interceptions were there to be had, yet hit the turf instead.

When a 2nd half lead evaporates, I always want to see under the hood on defense first. Regardless of the detail, the Wolverines could not limit the big plays the way Indiana and Nebraska did previously to the Spartans.

On special teams, Jake Moody gets a huge tip of my cap. He was 4/4 on field goals, including repeatedly hitting them at the end of the 1st half when Mel Tucker tried to ice him with all three timeouts. Additionally, the MSU return game was satisfied with Fair Catches and Touchbacks. Brad Robbins mishandled a punt snap (yikes!), but the defense managed to cover for him.

AJ Henning was solid returning the ball, but really hurt field position in the 2nd quarter when he let a punt bounce and roll. Still work to do in all three phases.

There will be a lot of bluster and big talking this week. Michigan needs to get right against Indiana and play well in all 3 phases. No Michigan team should ever shrivel in the face of adversity. Still a lot to play for. We’ll see how this version of the Wolverines manages to dig deep. Onward!

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer on Twitter U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18

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