The preseason Heisman candidate and his band of preseason Big Ten Champion darkhorses came into Ann Arbor on Saturday. They were bruised, battered, and coming off two of the most embarrassing back-to-back losses in their history. They had absolutely nothing to lose, and could begin to salvage a disastrous season by handing their "rival" their first loss. Winning fixes everything. Unfortunately for the Spartan faithful, the Green and White seem to only know how to disappoint.
Unlike the past two years, it wouldn't take overtime. The loudest cheers came during announcements of the score from the Detroit Tigers dismantling of the Yankee dynasty just 35 miles away in Comerica Park, and it was the only cheering the Michigan State faithful would feel compelled to participate in. In fact, this game was less in question by the end of the first half than Michigan's games against Vanderbilt and Central Michigan. Michigan dominated, broadcasting their weekly edition of "Establishing the Run", racking up 211 yards on 5 yards per carry. 122 yards of the ground attack came from Mike Hart, 51 from Kevin Grady, and 39 from true frosh Brandon Minor, who broke a 40-yard TD run to seal the game late in the 3rd quarter. Henne-to-Arrington showed up again with a spectacular leaping grab of 13 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Henne-to-Manningham, now a household name, came through again with 2 touchdowns of 41 and 27 yards. A late 2-yard touchdown by a scrambling Stanton somehow warranted his own personal celebration, but it would not be enough in his final chance to beat the Maize and Blue. Michigan wins 31-13...and it has never been less exciting. On it's way to being only termed a rivalry because of geography, Michigan-Michigan St. not only didn't warrant a Maize Out, it barely deserved your attention.
So we quickly move on to next week. Michigan has earned themselves half of a perfect season, the first since 1997, and that means that things are starting to get serious in Ann Arbor. They have two solid contests in the next two weeks before three weeks of patsies on the road to Columbus. First is what many are calling a "trap game" under the lights in Beaver Stadium, where the visiting Wolverines will come in ranked #4 for the first time since...you guessed it...1997.
The tailgate was completely ridiculous, full of first-timers, and overrun with a level of drunkenness and debauchery not previously observed. Exhaustion even had me down for the count. Perhaps the masses were not quite prepared for the longest home tailgate in UMTailgate.com history, as many stumbled in late to the battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy, and some didn't make it at all. But in the end, it didn't matter. Get drunk, pass out...forget about it...with Michigan State, you can relax.