ANN ARBOR - Michigan State used stiff defense, featuring five turnovers, and gutty play from quarterback Brian Lewerke in beating Michigan, 14-10, Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
The Spartans won despite gaining only two first downs in the second half. But that was all they needed, as Michigan was unable to mount any offense after cutting the lead to 14-10 early in the second half.
Lewerke’s third-down scramble for a gain of 4, on third-and-three, after initially fumbling the ball while trying to execute a zone read option, allowed Michigan State to burn most of what remained on the clock.
Michigan regained possession at its own 20 with :34 seconds left after a holding penalty by the Spartans ruined MSU's plans of melting the clock down to next to nothing.
Eddie McDoom of Michigan dropped a pass at the MSU 30-yard line with :19 seconds left. One play earlier, a personal foul by Chris Frey helped moved the ball to midfield.
Michigan's Hail Mary pass from the 37-yard line fell incomplete.
Lewerke finished 11 of 22 for 94 yards. Michigan's John O'Korn was 16 of 34 for 198.
Michigan State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) has beaten Michigan eight times in a 10-year stretch for the first time in a series that dates to 1898.
"I told our football team, every player that comes here, to dream big," Dantonio said.
No. 7-ranked Michigan fell to 4-1.
The second half was played in strong wind and rain, helping defenses dominate.
Michigan State took a 14-3 lead on a brilliantly-devised 16-yard misdirection screen pass to Madre London.
Michigan State took its first lead at 7-3 on a gutty 14-yard scramble keeper by Lewerke, leaping over the goal line, between a pair of Wolverines defenders loading up to attempt heavy hits.
Michigan State appeared to be driving to add to its 14-3 at the end of the first half but sophomore wide receiver Trishton Jackson dropped a pass at the Michigan 20-yard line with a little more than two minutes to play in the second quarter.
Michigan State has now won four of the last five games against the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium and eight of the last 10 overall.
"We're not done yet," linebacker Joe Bachie said.
Lewerke ran 15 times for 61 yards and another score.
Michigan State's Madre London, filling in for injured LJ Scott, had a 50-yard run and finished with 59 yards rushing on 10 carries and had a TD reception. Dantonio would not elaborate on Scott, but said he could have played in an emergency. Offensive lineman Brian Allen said the Spartans knew early in the week that Scott would not be able to play.
Michigan's Karan Higdon ran for 5.4 yards per carry, but was handed the ball just 12 times.
The Spartans' string of success started after former Michigan running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as a "little brother," after a win in 2007.
"We definitely talked about it," Lewerke said. "We definitely played it beforehand. Coach D uses that as motivation."
When Michigan State players celebrated with fans in the stands after the game, a "Little Sisters!" chant broke out.