Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Michigan State's Defense Bottles Up Michigan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Michigan State's Defense Bottles Up Michigan

Article excerpt

Jim Miller had been waiting five years for Michigan State to upset Michigan. Saturday, he made it happen.

Miller passed for 187 yards and a touchdown and Michigan State's fired-up defense overwhelmed Michigan as the Spartans defeated the Wolverines, ranked ninth by The Associated Press, 17-7.

"We feel good because we kicked their fannies for four quarters and they can't take that away from us," Miller said. "This memory is going to last forever. It feels great. Spartan football is back."

Michigan State snapped Michigan's unbeaten streak of 22 games in Big Ten play, dating to 1990.

The Spartans held Tyrone Wheatley, the nation's leading all-purpose rusher, to 33 yards in 11 carries.

"As a guy playing in a big game like this, you're supposed to perform big and I didn't," he said. "You can't put blame on the blocking. You have to blame the veterans like myself. I just didn't play well today."

The Spartans sacked Todd Collins three times for 30 yards and recovered Wheatley's first-quarter fumble to set the tone for the rest of the game.

"We had no one come up and give us a spark like we needed," Michigan coach Gary Moeller said. "I thought we got beat up, up front. That was the worst part. Their defensive line handled our offense.

Maybe Michigan was looking ahead to its showdown next Saturday at Penn State, which is 5-0. But that game suddenly has lost luster.

"Maybe we're not that good," Moeller said. "I don't know. I told you in the beginning we would not be a good football team unless we have an offensive line. And today, we didn't have a line."

Michigan State (3-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten) led 17-0 at halftime, making it the first time since 1987 that the Wolverines (3-2, 1-1) were scoreless at the break.

Brice Abrams scored on a 3-yard run, Scott Greene caught a 3-yard touchdown toss from Miller, who completed 18 of 24, and Bill Stoyanovich kicked a 47-yard field goal for Michigan State. …

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