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Keshawn Martin, Spartans Defense Too Much for Denard Robinson and Michigan

Photo Credit: AP
Photo Credit: AP
Stefan KubusAnalyst INovember 16, 2016

After taking an early 7-0 lead on a fake field goal play, the Michigan Wolverines could not contain the raging green and white.

In another epic battle of one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, the Spartans and Wolverines both featured some flashy uniforms for the latest chapter.

Who would reign superior, though?

With 5:06 left in the first quarter, the Michigan State Spartans scored right back, as Edwin Baker made it 7-7 on a 1-yard run. The Spartans compiled a 63-yard, nine-play drive—their biggest of the day.

The teams would exchange possessions throughout the second half, with no change in score. Denard Robinson, known for his dazzling running game, struggled to work the pass game in the Wolverines' favor, a recent trend in his game.

It wasn't until the third quarter that Keshawn Martin stepped up, asserting his presence in this battle.

On 3rd-and-goal, on a pass from MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins, Martin made a nice spin move to evade the Wolverines' tackle. He reached in with one hand for the touchdown to make it 14-7 Michigan State with 11:07 left in the quarter.

The game continued to be tight, but the Spartans struck again late in the third quarter. With 25 seconds left, Cousins completed another pass to Martin for his second touchdown of the day, very similar to his first earlier in the quarter.

The Wolverines would not go away quietly, though. With about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Robinson completed a pass to junior Roy Roundtree for 34 yards and a touchdown on their first play of the drive. Michigan pulled within seven points.

The nail in the coffin would come with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Lewis intercepted a poor Robinson pass at the Michigan 39-yardline and ran it in for a touchdown to put the Spartans up 28-14, a deficit the Wolverines from which would not rebound.

Michigan State held on to the Paul Bunyan Trophy for the fourth straight year now, handing Michigan their first loss of the season and putting them at 6-1 overall (2-1 in the Big Ten). The Spartans improve to 5-1 now and 2-0 in the Big Ten. 

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