The battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy is a tight one at the half, with Michigan leading 13-7. Here are some key observations from the game so far.
When it comes to Michigan and Michigan State, as cliché as it sounds, the records do not matter. That has clearly been the case so far. The Spartans came out in the first quarter with a big run by Jayden Reed for 17 yards. From there Michigan State took two straight penalties and went from a 1st and 10 at the Michigan 46-yard-line, to a 4th and 19 and their own 40.
Michigan on their first drive was able to move the ball to the MSU 44 before Cornelius Johnson fumbled the ball. Michigan State defensive back made a terrific play to strip the ball, and MSU was able to recover.
Rogelio Castillo and Chris Brown give a few of their thoughts about the first half.
1st half observations
Rogelio: I thought J.J. McCarthy has been able to improvise on his feet well, taking what the Spartans defense has given him and creating opportunities. But outside of that he just hasn’t been able to pull the trigger down the field. Perhaps he isn’t trusting his receivers? Blake Corum has been strong, per usual, running between the tackles for 105 yards in the first half.
Despite the pressure from the Wolverines, I thought Peyton Thorne was able to step into the pocket and make a few good throws. Overall, it feels like both sides are tight, waiting for that strange moment to happen in the game. The TV timeouts, also, felt like the first quarter took a long, long time.
Chris: How impressive is Keon Coleman? He racked up 104 yards and a touchdown on four catches in the first half, and generally looked unstoppable. Pardon the painful reference, but he brought back memories of Braylon Edwards in 2004.
The teams combined for just one punt in the first half, which feels very unlike the Big Ten. Michigan seemed to be able to run the ball with ease, but MSU held firm in the red zone to keep the game close.
Meanwhile Michigan State moved the ball well, but was undone by two failed 4th-down conversions. The plays called on those 4th-down attempts were pretty bad, and MSU fans have to feel like those were huge missed opportunities.
Check back after the game for more content!