WELL GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE, HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND? MINE WAS PRETTY SWELL, THANKS FOR ASKING!
WE’VE GOT A BREAKDOWN OF A MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS’ WIN FOR THE EIGHTH TIME THIS SEASON (IN EIGHT TRIES), THIS ONE THANKS TO A 16-POINT COMEBACK BY THE SPARTANS.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MSU’S VICTORY OVER MICHIGAN, SHALL WE?
We’ll talk about the game in a little bit, but first I just want to thank Michigan for all they’ve done. Your former players and current media just working wonders for this rivalry. You have guys like Taylor “1-4 vs. Michigan State” Lewan cutting wrestling promos talking about “little brother” before the game. You’ve got Braylon Edwards oddly bragging about how he can’t name any defensive player on MSU before the game. You’ve got credentialed media running their mouths and spouting off how Kenneth Walker III gets “cotton candy yards” and how MSU is a fraud because the Spartans “haven’t played anyone yet.”
Thank you for your delusion as always. You morons really think 18-22-year-old student-athletes don’t go online, don’t see what you’re saying and DON’T use it as motivation? Xavier Henderson said it best...
GOOOOOOOOOD MORNING EVERYONE pic.twitter.com/GwmKjLAaMD— MSU NIL history-makers (@Sheehan_Sports) October 31, 2021
Nothing will ever change in that program, and it’s great. Former players with embarrassing records against Michigan State talking wild. Players that were relevant 20 years ago thinking we’re still in the George W. Bush administration and ignoring the last 14 years. Thank you for being who you are — an embarrassment for your program and a motivator for MSU’s program.
ALL RIGHT, let’s talk about Kenneth Walker III. Kenny Five Stacks. Kenny Cutbacks. K9. Heisman candidate. Whatever you want to call him, JUST MAKE SURE YOU CALL HIM LEGENDARY.
He did it in every way, too. He put out the full display. Bouncing out a run after getting jammed at the line of scrimmage for touchdown No. 1 of the day. Barreling through the line on his third touchdown. Pounding the hole and barely being touched in his fourth and fifth touchdowns. The five rushing touchdowns were the most Michigan has ever allowed in a single game.
Walker is the best running back in the nation, and that was cemented with arguably the best individual performance in this rivalry’s history. We witnessed greatness on Saturday.
JAYDEN REED, YOU BAD DAWG. Listen, he didn’t get five touchdowns, but he had two of the most important plays of the game. That fourth down catch (on a great throw by Payton Thorne, of course) was crucial. Duh. But, man, Moss’ing whoever the cornerback was to tie the game on the game-swinging two-point conversion was unreal. With Jalen Nailor out for the second half with a hand injury, Reed had to ball out with even more attention directed to him. Ended up not fazing him, BECAUSE JAYDEN REED IS A DAWG.
And what a reaction video shot by Ken Jeong after that two-point grab to tie things up.
Payton Thorne had a shaky first half, and that’s understandable — and he bounced back. I mean, I had the shakes on my couch crushing beers watching the game. Imagine, YOU KNOW, ACTUALLY PLAYING QUARTERBACK IN THAT GAME. His second half was poised, including the pin-point passes on the fourth-and-four play to Reed and both two-point conversions. Throwing for massive third-down conversions in the second half. Leading the hurry-up offense to catch Michigan sleeping at times and causing offsides calls on them as well. This won’t be remembered as a game Thorne won for them, but it should be remembered as one of the statement games of his young career.
The offensive line played as good as we could’ve hoped. Yes, Aiden Hutchinson was dominant at times, but that’s to be expected against a player who will likely be a top-10 or so pick in the NFL Draft. But in every other facet, the unit played just fine. The pass protection was solid. The run blocking was as good as Walker needed it to be most the game. That was their toughest assignment yet, and they got the job done.
Now to the defense who, despite letting up 33 points, played a solid game. NOT GREAT, but solid enough to get the win and that’s all that really matters in wild top-10 matchups. Just survive and advance.
The refrain all season has been “bend-don’t-break” and my goodness did the Spartans do just that. Well, maybe not on third down, but the red zone at least. Of the Wolverine’s five red zone trips, just one turned into a touchdown — four trips inside the 20-yard-line had to settle for a field goal. In a game decided by four points UHHHHHH, YEAH, THAT WAS IMPORTANT.
But the defense had the right game plan. The unit absolutely bottled up the Wolverines’ top-two running backs that just about every Maize and Blue fan swore was as good as Walker. Just 104 yards and zero touchdowns between Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins. So that had Michigan airing the ball out 48 times, which was exactly what the Spartans wanted to see.
OH AND HAVING YOUR TRUE FRESHMAN CORNERBACK PICK OFF THE GAME-WINNER IS NICE TOO. So let’s talk about this play — it appears that Chuck Brantley was in man coverage, but had the instinct to leave his assignment and ice the game. As a true freshman. (Top of the screen in the clip below)
The linebacker play from Quavaris Crouch, Cal Haladay and, hell, even Darius Snow who might as well be listed as linebacker was strong. Yes, the Wolverines got roughly a billion air yards with their tight end matchups on MSU’s linebackers, but for that group to suck the life out of their run game instantly was crucial. The linebackers made Michigan a one-dimensional team, and not in the way many would’ve thought heading into the game.
One time for the atmosphere at Spartan Stadium. That was a hell hole for the Wolverines to play in. Spartan Stadium, “The Woodshed,” is one of the most hostile atmospheres to play in when its packed, and that was (quite literally) loud and clear on the broadcast. I can only imagine how bananas that was to play in as a player. And, also, one time for MSU’s student section members that lined up before dinner time on Friday night to get seats.
22 hours of waiting in the rain and cold to make this video a possibility, thank you to everybody who supported me @chrissolari @OdellBretthamJr @Sheehan_Sports @colton_pouncy @TheRealSharty pic.twitter.com/XGpxOe4NVN— Troy Brinkel (@TroyBrinkel) October 31, 2021
And for those not at the stadium, how amazing is it to hear Gus Johnson narrate a 16-point comeback? It was prime Gus Johnson throughout the game, and whenever we go back and watch this game we will hear his vintage, fired-up voice orating these highlights. All while Joel Klatt grits his teeth in the background as his beloved Jim Harbaugh falls on his face for the 1,098th game in a row. It was beautiful.
We’ll talk about Michigan here to start things off as Mike Morris tried to get Kenneth Walker III out of the game as fast as he could.
Ah yes. Attempting to choke out Kenneth Walker.— Kake is a fan of Kenneth Walker III (@BemusedSpartan) October 31, 2021
Totally normal behavior from Michigan’s players. pic.twitter.com/xzFNuaNEu0
And then, three plays later, Kenneth Walker iced the game with his fifth touchdown. So Kenneth Walker’s stat line: Five touchdowns on 197 rushing yards. Mike Morris’ stat line: Just one tackle, one failed choke-out and partly being responsible for a blown 16-point lead.
It’s not just bad they blatantly tried to knockout Walker with a move like that...but they couldn’t even do their choke holds right. What does that team do well (other than, well, choke in games)?
Oh, I’m sorry, they also celebrate too early really well I guess?
If celebrating too early was a photo pic.twitter.com/UKyAdEGmm8— Curtis Daniel III (@FrittyLoc) October 31, 2021
There’s 4:09 left in the first quarter and it’s group photo time like its 10U soccer picture day. Look, I get they do this after every turnover...and I’m glad they do. Nothing like gassing the whole team up way too early and giving us fantastic images to look back and laugh at.
OK fine, I’ll start being objective and talk about “The Bad” from MSU’s side. But I will be really short with it, because nothing in the “bad” bin ended up mattering Saturday.
IF Michigan State lost this game, this blog post would be me crying about how the defense gave up so many chances for Michigan to score thanks to a 8-for-17 clip on third down. It was north of 50 percent most the game.
HOWEVER, since we are talking about a win, we don’t have to bitch and moan about the abundance of scoring chances UM had. We’ll just stick with talking about how the MSU defense held the Wolverine offense to field goals in four of their red zone visits.
Bringing in a left tackle cold off the bench with MSU backed up to its end zone was millimeters away from ending in disaster. Anyway, DIDN’T END UP MATTERING. WE MOVE ON.
There were 4,873 cool moments from the game and celebration, but this moment right here is squarely at the top.
“It’s not over. It will never be over.” And while things didn’t end great in his tenure, it’s amazing and poetic to see Mark Dantonio soak in another chapter of the rivalry he had a massive hand in flipping around. It’s also awesome to see him and Mel Tucker relish in the program’s success together.
Draymond Green, as always, embodied what all of us were feeling (and STILL feeling) after the game. Our Spartan King is the best.
So that’s how Spartan fans are starting their week, let’s check in on Wolverine Nation to see how things are going over there...
Glad to see we're handling Saturday's loss well. pic.twitter.com/MbpoGaGF3w— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) November 1, 2021
Oh my...ummm...all right. Maybe things are going better over the radio airwaves? Hey, Braylon Edwards’ dad is calling in! Surely he’ll have some measured things to say after having two days to digest the game! Or...what...is he coming to the rescue of his 38-year-old son that can’t stop running his mouth?!??
All right, well...moving along, let’s see how well those comments aged from the guy that went 1-4 in his five years at UM.
LET’S GET TO SOME BOWL PROJECTIONS BABY. Man, I would’ve killed for this team to make the Music City Bowl in the preseason. And now? WELL...
The Athletic: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
College Football News: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
247Sports: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
Athlon Sports: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
WOOO BOY ALL THESE ROSE BOWL PROJECTIONS HAS ME WANTING TO DO BACKFLIPS. Instead of paralyzing myself attempting one, I’ll let Jayden Reed take it from here...
I’m gonna play this backflip video so many times it’s gonna make people sick to their stomachs pic.twitter.com/HnTNz45OEs— Jack “Bunyan” Williams (@JackWilliaMSU) October 31, 2021
AS ALWAYS, LET’S CELEBRATE THIS ONE. BUT LET’S MAKE THIS CELEBRATION A LITTLE LONGER AND A LITTLE LOUDER THAN USUAL. GO GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEN.