ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Brian Lewerke ran for a touchdown and threw for a score in the first half and Michigan State held on to beat No. 7 Michigan, 14-10, on Saturday night.
The Wolverines had the ball with a chance to drive for a go-ahead TD, but a heave from the Spartans’ 37 as time expired hit the turf near the goal line.
“Can’t say enough about our defense,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We did it the hard way, right down to the last second.”
The Spartans (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) have beaten Michigan eight times in a 10-year stretch for the first time in a series that dates to 1898.
“I am just thrilled for our football team and thrilled for our fans,” Dantonio said.
Michigan (4-1, 1-1) could not overcome many mistakes, including five turnovers and several costly penalties. John O’Korn, replacing injured starter Wilton Speight, threw three interceptions in the second half. Ty Isaac and Sean McKeon fumbled.
“When we got the momentum going, we turned it over,” Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The Wolverines opened with a 16-play, 64-yard drive that took nearly 7 minutes off the clock, but they had to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. They didn’t lead again.
Lewerke scored a go-ahead TD on a 14-yard run late in the first quarter. He threw a 16-yard pass to Madre London to put the Spartans up 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
Michigan scored its first and only touchdown midway through the third quarter on Khalid Hill’s 1-yard run to cut it to 14-10.
The Spartans didn’t have a first down in the second half until their final drive of the game, a possession that started with 2:13 and ended with a punt from the Michigan 47 that went through the end zone with 34 seconds left.
Michigan started its last drive with 34 seconds and no timeouts left and picked up 30 yards on the first snap on a 15-yard pass to Karan Higdon and a 15-yard penalty on Chris Frey for tacking him out of bounds. The Wolverines wilted after that as Eddie McDoom dropped a pass and they had to back up 5 yards on a delay-of-game penalty.
Strong winds and heavy rain affected the game in the third quarter, making it even more difficult for the offensively challenged teams to move the ball.
“It was different,” O’Korn said. “There was one point where there was a torrential downpour, but there’s no excuses.”