In spite of overwhelming odds, the Spartans imposed their will and posted a resounding 27-24 victory at the Big House

The odds were sizable.

After all, USA Today had ranked the Spartans as the #107 ranked team in the land, while the odds makers had installed the Spartans as 25 point underdogs, yet give credit where credit is deserved: the Spartan players were stoic. They came with energy and purpose and led from start to finish.

Nothing was given, the players were resolute and earned a 27-24 victory!

Moreover, the Spartan players did what no other Spartan team have accomplished for their first year head coach. For the first time since 1995, the Spartans Head Football Coach won his first game against Michigan, but more importantly, this was the first time in history a Spartan Head Football Coach won his first game at Ann Arbor.

The Spartans posted nearly 450 Yards of Offense, and played clean: Zero Turnovers, no Fumbles, no Interceptions, and just 5 penalties for minus 65 yards.


Rocky Lombardi was efficient:

Lombardi’s completion percentage was just 53% but when he connected, he connected for big yardage.

In all, Lombardi completed just 17 passes, but he compiled 323 Yards at nearly 20 Yards per completion: chunk yardage in today’s vernacular. Moreover, the receptions were highlighted by Ricky White and Jalen Nailor who combined for an impressive 264 Yards, and here is a breakdown:

  • Ricky White: 8 receptions, 196 Yards, and 1 TD
  • Jalen Nailor: 2 Receptions, and 68 Yards

Overall, 6 receivers gathered 17 passes for 323 Yards and 3 TD’s.


Michigan is, who we thought they were!

Although a “win is a win”, on the other hand Michigan appears to be what we thought they were…OVER HYPED…again!!!

Looking back, Michigan beat Minnesota on the road in the opening game 49-24, and while pundits and analysts told us Michigan Quarterback, Joe Milton was the second coming of 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack, yet we’ve heard that story before…right Dennard Robinson, right Shea Patterson?.

The Spartan Defense took away Milton’s tools and rendered him just another Michigan Quarterback, and that means zero Trophies or hardware over the past 15 years.

The Spartan 4-2-5 Defense kept Michigan receivers covered deep, so Milton was forced to throw underneath, and although Milton accounted for 300 Yards Passing, it was mostly “hollow yards” as he only averaged 9 Yards per completion, and was unable to complete a Passing TD.


Michigan’s Rushing Offense unable to exert its will:

Michigan made news by Rushing for a robust 256 Yards at Minnesota, yet the Spartans Defense yielded just 152 Yards Rushing to Michigan, and that was 100 Yards less than Michigan’s produced at Minnesota.

So, the Spartans nuanced 4-2-5 Defense has only yielded 258 Yards Rushing in two games, or an average of 129 Yards Rushing per game which is more efficient than you might expect when you consider the Spartans Defense have exchanged a “Front 7” for a “Front 6”.

After just two games, the Spartans Rushing Defense seems to be coming into its own and taking care of its business. It’s not as dominant as some of the Spartans top ranked Rushing Defenses in recent years, for example the Spartans #1 Rushing Defense in 2018 that yielded just 78 Yards Rushing per game, yet the Defense is getting stops as needed.

When we deduct Joe Milton’s 59 yards Rushing (and zero Rushing TD’s), thereafter Michigan’s Rushing Offense only compiled 93 Yards Rushing.

In brief, Michigan was unable to exert their will at the Line of Scrimmage, and it also demonstrated an impressive afternoon for the Spartans “Front 6”, and let’s give due credit to the Spartan Safeties who got some impressive stops as well


A “win is a win” but can the Spartans sustain the momentum?

Spartan partisans everywhere are ecstatic after beating Michigan, but what does this victory mean in the bigger picture?

Of course the Spartans beat Michigan which is joyful for all, but Michigan is just 1-1 including a victory at Minnesota. Meanwhile, Minnesota has been exposed after losing at Maryland 44-45, and when we connect the dots, Maryland got destroyed at Northwestern and lost 3-43.

In other news, Rutgers (who beat the Spartans in week one) is just 1-1 after a sound 21-37 beating at the hands of Indiana.

So, beating Michigan is a joyful victory, but it must be the beginning of victories and not the end.

We don’t want to take anything away from beating Michigan, but let’s be honest, Michigan is another Championship “wanna be” coached by Jim Harbaugh, and if we have learned one thing since Jim Harbaugh came into the Big Ten in 2015, he is nothing more than a championship mirage.


At the bottom line (next up is Iowa):

At the moment, Indiana and Ohio State lead the Big Ten East with perfect 2-0 records, while Michigan State, Rutgers, Maryland and Michigan are tied with 1-1 records. If you’re curious, then Penn State is 0-2.

The Spartan next game is at Iowa City and Iowa Football has posted a head scratching record of 0-2 as well, after an offseason filled with controversy not normally associated with Iowa Head Football Coach, Kirk Ferentz.

Yet, even though Iowa is 0-2, their losing margin is a grand total of just 5 points, and playing football at Iowa City is not for the faint of heart.

The Spartans will need to play with energy and purpose, and one thing is certain, if the Spartans hope to win at Iowa City and/or stitch together a string of Big Ten victories, the Rushing Offense needs to come up to Big Ten Championship standards.

In the last two games the Spartans have rushed for just 50 Yards ‘net’ vs Rutgers, and just 127 Yards vs Michigan, and that computes to a  dismal average of just 88.5 Yards per game. I have written on many occasions that an average of 200 Yards Rushing per game is the minimum Big Ten Championship standard, so we will have to see how the Spartans measure up against that standard for the balance of the season.

Enjoy the victory, and thank you for reading.