EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan had plenty of reasons to be motivated to beat Michigan State, barely defeating its in-state rival over the last decade and losing to every ranked team on the road for a dozen years.
The Wolverines, though, were even more fired up to win after a pregame spat with the Spartans.
Shea Patterson threw two touchdown passes and No. 6 Michigan earned a desperately needed 21-7 win over No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday, snapping a streak of 17 consecutive losses to ranked teams on the road.
The Wolverines (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) had lost eight of 10 against coach Mark Dantonio’s Spartans and those setbacks have led to them not winning a Big Ten title since 2004.
The matchup is always highly charged, but it was kicked up a notch well before kickoff, and emotions didn’t subside even after a 75-minute weather delay during the first quarter.
Michigan State’s team walked from one end zone to the other with their arms locked and a few Wolverines were stretching out in the middle of the field when contact was made and words were exchanged .
“Total bush league,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Apparently coach Dantonio was 5 yards behind, smiling.”
Dantonio disagreed with Harbaugh’s assessment.
“That’s B.S.,” Dantonio said.
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, one of the players involved in what Harbaugh called “shenanigans ,” later dragged and kicked his cleats to rip up some of the grass under the Spartans’ white logo at midfield.
“I just got caught up in the moment with my emotions,” Bush said.
The Spartans (4-3, 2-2) struggled to move the ball, getting held to 94 yards and failing to convert any of its 12 third downs.
“Our defense was lights out,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a dream game.”
Michigan was good enough on offense to win, making some plays in the passing game and a lot on the ground against the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense.
Patterson’s 79-yard pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones put Michigan ahead late in the third quarter.
“Donovan, one-on-one coverage, good luck with that,” Patterson said. “I just threw it up to him.”
The mobile quarterback converted a fourth-and-2 from the Michigan State 41 early in the fourth, setting up Ben Mason’s 5-yard run that gave the Wolverines a 21-7 lead.
The Ole Miss transfer was 14 of 25 for 212 yards and made a successful debut in a series that has been tilted Michigan State’s way in part because of poor quarterback play. His 6-yard pass to Nico Collins broke a scoreless tie early in the second quarter and was Michigan’s first touchdown throw against the Spartans since 2011.
Michigan State needed a fumble deep in Michigan territory and a trick play to score once.
Chris Evans lost the football at the Wolverines 7 early in the third. Two plays later, quarterback Brian Lewerke caught a 4-yard pass from receiver Darrell Stewart off a reverse to pull the Spartans into a tie.
Michigan’s Karan Higdon had 144 yards rushing on 33 carries against a team that entered the game giving up a nation-low 62 yards on the ground.
“We didn’t have enough offense,” Dantonio said. “Credit Michigan’s defense. “
Penn State 33, Indiana 28
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Trace McSorley passed for 220 yards, ran for 107 and had a hand in three touchdowns in No. 18 Penn State’s victory over Indiana.
Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) rallied to snap a two-game losing streak after Indiana (4-4, 1-4) took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter on Steve Scott’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Iowa 23, Maryland 0
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Nate Stanley threw for 86 yards and a touchdown for No. 19 Iowa.
Anthony Nelson added a TD on a fumble recovery for the Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten). They held the Terrapins (4-3, 2-2) to 115 yards and seven first downs on a day when wind gusts topped 40 mph.
Wisconsin 49, Illinois 20
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Jonathan Taylor rushed for 159 yards and Taiwan Deal ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns and No. 23 Wisconsin took advantage of Illinois’ five first-half turnovers.
Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) has won nine straight against Illinois (3-4, 1-3). The Badgers had three interceptions and recovered two fumbles on the way to building a 28-10 halftime lead. Alex Hornibrook threw three touchdown passes and two interceptions.
LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska (1-6, 1-4 Big Ten) built a four-touchdown lead in the first half and survived some nervous moments in the second before pulling away to beat Minnesota (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten), giving Scott Frost his long-awaited first win as Cornhuskers coach and ending a program-record 10-game losing streak.
Northwestern 18, Rutgers 15. Updates with quotes. With AP Photos.
Isaiah Bowser scored on a 5-yard run with 8:12 to play and Northwestern avoided a major letdown by converting two fourth-downs plays on the game-winning drive to defeat struggling Rutgers 18-15. Bowser also scored on a 3-yard run and Drew Luckenbaugh kicked a 23-yard field goal as the Wildcats (4-3, 4-1 Big Ten) won their third straight game by rallying from an eight-point third-quarter deficit.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Isaiah Bowser scored on a 5-yard run with 8:12 to play and Northwestern (4-3, 4-1 Big Ten) avoided a major letdown by converting two fourth-downs plays on the game-winning drive to defeat struggling Rutgers (1-7, 0-5).