That’s neither here nor there, because the day belonged to the defense – one that is good enough and determined enough to carry MI past Ohio State and to an outright Big Ten championship that’s eluded the program since 2003. The final score was 14-7.
After giving up 21 points in the first quarter for the first time in 20 years, the Sooners (2-2) went ahead to stay with 28 consecutive points in the second quarter.
Defense was theme of the day in a classic (or ugly, depending on your perspective) Big Ten slugfest between top-10 teams.
After the teams traded punts on the next five possessions, MI got something going on offense. “On this bye week, we’re going to hone down on that and improve”.
“We’ll just keep on building off of (this loss)”. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it.
MICHIGAN STATE: LB Riley Bullough missed the game with an unspecified injury.
Coach Jim Harbaugh helped the Wolverines (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) beat a top-10 team for the first time since 2008. Wisconsin’s offense had just eight first downs and 159 total yards.
If the Badgers had gotten Hornibrook into a rhythm, they would have increased their chances of pulling off the upset.
“I thought we were challenged differently than last week”, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said.
“It’s not like fluke stuff”, Isaac said.
OK, it was only one play that really made me say this, but the MI cornerback is one of the best at what he does in the entire country.
It may lead to going for a lot of 4th down conversions in future games, especially when playing tougher opponents.
Giving up only 14 points to an offense averaging 52 heading into Saturday’s game, Justin Wilcox’s squad performed quite well without its emotional leader and team captain in Vince Biegel.
“We couldn’t really get any drives going and when we did there were a lot of opportunities that we should’ve taken advantage of, I should’ve taken advantage of”, Hornibrook said.
Without their leader on defense Vince Biegel, Wisconsin’s defense did everything they possibly could to slow down the high-powered MI offense.
While Michigan’s offense had its issues Saturday, Harbaugh had nothing but good things to say about the team’s defensive effort, according to Fox 2 Sports.
Perhaps the biggest problem for MI was the kicking game, and Harbaugh made it clear that he intends to address it, per Baumgardner.
It was the first field goal made by either team after their respective kickers missed their first four attempts. And the offense has to be more efficient. The offense did not appear with the same confidence and ease that they showed in East Lansing, however.
LEWIS HAS HIGHLIGHTS: There was no secret what type of impact Jourdan Lewis can make on the football field. The Aggies used a big fourth quarter to pull away from previously unbeaten Arkansas and gained three poll positions to crack the top 10. It was the type of play that MI made a habit of allowing in close games under late-stage Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, and Brady Hoke; the script was flipped today.
Teammates have seen one-handed interceptions by Lewis in practice, but Speight said Saturday’s was “on another level”.
The Wolverines’ bigger exams lie in late October and during November on the road, but they are undeniably a contender for the national championship.
“It was a hard game”, he said, “and we finished it”.