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Instant Reactions: Michigan @ No. 8 Michigan State

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No. 8 Michigan State churns out 446 total yards and gets 177 yards and three TDs from Jeremy Langford in winning its seventh straight game this year with a 35-11 victory over Michigan.

Leon Halip

Yes, the consecutive quarter streak of keeping Michigan out of the end zone ended at 11, courtesy of a De'Veon Smith one-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.

But while Jeremy Langford, whose fumble set up Smith's score to put an end to that streak, was at the fore of what No. 8 Michigan State did offensively in its 35-11 victory over Michigan, accounting for 177 rushing yards and three touchdowns, it's what the defense was able to do that should leave all Spartan supporters encouraged with Ohio State next on the docket in two weeks.

Yes, we all know Michigan has struggled mightily on offense for much of the year.

But in holding the Wolverines to 186 yards while forcing three turnovers, highlighted by R.J. Williamson's 29-yard pick-six of Devin Gardner midway through the third, the Spartan defense may have reestablished some of the edge that has been lacking for much of the year.

The defense was able to bail out the offense a little bit at times as the offense turned the ball over twice. That's an encouraging sign that just maybe the defense is turning back towards the form that people have been accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis.

If it's because it was Michigan, so be it. We all know the importance Mark Dantonio has placed on the rivalry since taking the job in November 2006.

We all know the defense must improve on the big-play lapses that have plagued it at various times during the season. I thought Saturday was another step in that direction.

Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi has earned the trust of Michigan State supporters everywhere and we have to maintain that faith in him and Dantonio that they both will get the defense to where they want it to be in hopes of having an opportunity to repeat as Big Ten champions later on this year.

Winning six of its last seven games against Michigan while running Dantonio's career record against the Wolverines to 6-2, the best winning percentage of any Michigan State head coach against Michigan with a minimum of five games coached. Michigan State has put its stamp on the rivalry lately.There's little doubt about that.

But it's because they took care of business against their hated in-state rivals that two weeks from tonight will mark an even more important 60 minutes of football than they played Saturday.

As hard as it would be for Dantonio to admit that, I think he would.