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First-half observations: Spartans come out firing, lead 14-10 at halftime

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
MSU's Ricky White, right, catches 30-yard pass for a 7-0 lead over UM at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan State leading, 14-3, at halftime?

Exactly what we all predicted. There's still 30 minutes to go, but there have been some interesting developments through one half. Here's a look at what stood out: 

Surprise, surprise

Not many people were giving Michigan State a chance in this game. In fact, not many people were expecting it to be even close.

Well, I guess this is why they play the games.

The Spartans came out firing, scoring on their second drive of the game and, despite a handful of miscues and untimely penalties, managed to hold a 14-10 lead heading to the locker room.

Let’s not discount the fact there are essentially no fans here in the Big House, but give the Spartans credit for showing up and giving the No. 13 team in the country everything it can handle.

Running wild?

The running numbers won’t raise too many eyebrows around the Big Ten, but the fact the Spartans managed to run for 78 yards was a heck of a turnaround from a week ago.

Michigan State gained only 50 yards on 39 carries against Rutgers and figured to have tough sledding against a talented Michigan defensive line. Instead, the Spartans are getting enough production on the ground to keep the offense balanced. While Michigan outgained Michigan State, 233-174, it was still a solid overall first half for the MSU offense.

Big plays stifled 

The Michigan offense is moving the ball fairly well, but the big plays have been absent, so far.

After ripping off big runs in last week’s win over Minnesota, the Wolverines are averaging 4.9 yards a carry against Michigan State – not a bad number but nowhere near last week.

And let’s not hammer the offense too much. The Michigan defense isn’t helping with a handful of pass interference penalties that have aided the Spartans, leading to some nervous Wolverine fans halfway through this rivalry game.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mcharboneau