The Turning Point

Photo: Tyler Carlton
This game was a turning point.

It was a turning point, I believe, for both programs.

For Michigan, it was a dominating win against a rival that, by-in-large has had Michigan's number for the better part of a decade. For Michigan State, it was the final straw remaining on an abysmal season which hasn't seen a victory since September. The glory days of 2014-15 are nothing more than distant specs in the Spartan's rear-view.

Mark Dantonio, for all of the warranted hatred he receives outside of East Lansing, is the best head coach MSU has ever had. He's taken a once proud program and completely turned it around into a regular Big Ten contender. He made Michigan State into exactly what he is...a tough-nosed, hard-edged dude who doesn't care what you think about him or how he goes about his business. Michigan State was the perfect spot for Mark Dantonio.

But don't get me wrong, Mark Dantonio is a thug. And he runs his program in kind. Always has, always will. Spartan fans have and will support him through his off-the-field issues he has coming up because they've all bought into his thug persona for so long. And of course they did...because it worked. Which is exactly why I think he'll be the head coach at Michigan State for as long as he wants to be. I don't think anyone in East Lansing has the realistic authority to fire him.

Look no further than Lewerke's concussion last week. For all of the chest-beating Michigan State does when things are going well, they're just as good at being quiet when things go the other way. Lewerke's concussion against Illinois was a non-story because, nationally, who really cares? Even in and around the Detroit media market, this story never gained traction because no one was paying enough attention. Michigan State acts like they want to be a powerhouse program, but they know full well that they would never hold up to the real life scrutiny a program like Michigan has to go through. Harbaugh sneezes and it gets more clicks than Michigan State's concussion cover-up. That's just how it is and how it always will be. It's just nice to see the scoreboard better reflect the reality once in a while.


Saturday was a bloodbath. I mean, of course Michigan State had a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter...but the problem for Sparty was there were still 3 quarters left. After their two 1Q drives that garnered no points, Michigan proceeded to score points on their next 7 consecutive drives.

Michigan's offense...the offense we'd heard rumors about all offseason finally came to life. It's not the full "speed in space" spread that Josh Gattis probably wanted to be running when the season began, but it's the proper amount of spread and power that fits this team and the players on it. I have to give Michigan's offensive staff some serious credit...this offense is finally coming alive because Michigan has found a way to adapt to their strengths.

That, plus I think in these last few games, Shea Patterson is finally 100% healthy. He seems like a different QB out there. Sure, he still has his limitations, but Michigan has found a way to make him work in this offense...and offense that is absolutely chock full of talent that is really beginning to hit their stride.

No doubt about it, the false start...blocked punt...Nico touchdown sequence was maybe the most fun and satisfying sequence of plays I've seen from the Wolverines is a long, long time. The game was already out of reach, but this was the final nail in the coffin.

When Dantonio, down 27-10, decided to punt on 4th and 6 after the false start...only to have the punt blocked by Khaleke Hudson and on the following play have Shea Patterson hit Nico Collins for 22 yards over the top...I think that was the universe's way of telling Michigan State that this historic run of theirs is finally over.

Plus, can we just have a moment of silence for the Nico touchdown play call? That play was exactly the play you're supposed to run after a turnover deep in the enemies territory. It was a thing of beauty.

Not to be outdone, Shea Patterson and Ronnie Bell both had career days. Shea topped his biggest yardage game at Michigan by about 100 yards and Ronnie Bell did absolutely everything except score a touchdown...which, man, I hope he gets one in two weeks!

It wouldn't be a Michigan-Michigan State game without the chippiness and all of that nonsense. Look, I get that Michigan State still wants to be the tough kid on the block, but when you clearly aren't that anymore, the late hits and pushing and shoving are just stupid. It's one thing if Sparty wants to do that, but it's gone on for so long now in this series that even Michigan gets pulled into that crap too. I actually give the refs some credit for trying to keep things under control as much as possible.

We're gonna need a bigger shovel. Seriously great work by the stadium workers all week to uncover the Big House from about 11 inches of snow.

How do you not love Gus Johnson? Plus the Hitman embrace with special teams coach Chris Partridge...I mean, come on!

More MBN Michigan State coverage: PreviewSTAT-OGame Photos

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