By now, you are aware of the result of this game. Michigan dropped an absolute heartbreaker after having the lead for 59 minutes, 50 seconds. It was a horrible, terrible, awful mistake and there's not much else to be said there.
Let's start the takeaways with this, though:
If you call yourself a fan, follower, avid reader, etc. of this website and you are Tweeting at Blake O'Neill, other players or coaches, take your mobile device, tablet, laptop or whatever and chuck it into oncoming traffic.
This is sports. Things happen. It sucks. But don't be a despicable human being. Be better than that.
Despite the final result, there was quite a bit to takeaway from this game.
Special Teams Won Michigan this Game...Until it Didn't
Field position was going to be a big factor in this game and Michigan won that battle. O'Neill had an 80 yard punt and pinned the Spartans in their own territory several times. On the flip side, Jabrill Peppers made a huge difference in setting the team up with chances on MSU's side of the field.
Kenny Allen was very good again, hitting all three of his field goals. Consistency in the field goal department has been a pleasant surprise this season.
The gaffe at the end was unfortunate and sad. For as good as O'Neill has been this year -- and he's been excellent -- you feel sick for him tonight. Even after the bobbled snap he thought he could make a play and it went horribly wrong.
A Missed Opportunity
Did the punt lose the game? Yes, it did, but it should have never gotten to that point.
Michigan had its chance to knockout the Spartans in the fourth quarter on a long pass to a wide open Jehu Chesson that would have gone for six. Instead, it was another overthrow from Jake Rudock. At this point, I don't know if that's fixable or not because through seven weeks of football, it has not happened yet.
Give all the credit in the world to Michigan State's defense. They showed up today and Michigan was unable to get anything going on the ground. Still, whether it was a flaw in the gameplan or the execution of it, Rudock wasted a chance to exploit a young and banged up MSU secondary. Points and chunk yards were left on the field.
Michigan's Defense Came to Play
Michigan State was not going to get shut out today. There was no way that was even an option. Connor Cook is the best quarterback the Wolverines have seen this year and he is absolutely a first round talent. He made big throws and gave the Spartans a chance to win when down 23-14 in the fourth quarter.
Aaron Burbridge had an excellent day, but the battle between him and Jourdan Lewis was a sight to see. Both of those two will play on Sundays sooner rather than later.
The defensive line was good again, pressuring Cook and making big sacks when they had to. MSU's run game was never able to get going and they did a nice job, even with the Spartans' patchwork offensive line playing well
Your Silver Lining
Listen, the last thing you want to hear is manufactured positives right now. I promise you I have legitimate ones.
This is heartbreaking, shocking, whatever it is. A countless amount of adjectives can describe what took place on Saturday afternoon.
What is going on in Ann Arbor in the last ten months cannot be denied. Michigan is in incredible hands with Jim Harbaugh and his staff and he has them playing great football much quicker than expected. There are no moral victories, but Michigan *won* this game, but lost it on a devastating play at the end.
This is right up there with any heartbreaker in Michigan football history, but this program is in good hands and they will learn and get better from this. That is Harbaugh's M.O.
In year's past, this would be the turning point in a season where the wheels fall off at the end. Who knows? Maybe it still happens, but nobody should expect it to. Until Ohio State, every game on this schedule is one that Michigan should win.
This bye week probably comes at the perfect time for this team. It has been a roller coaster of emotions the first seven weeks of the year and after how Saturday ended, a week to cool down and regroup is for the best.
We will see what happens. Stick with this team. They need fan support more now than ever.