Michigan coach Brady Hoke discusses the loss to MSU on Saturday in East Lansing.
East Lansing — Michigan has made a habit this season in all five losses to let up just before halftime and give up a score.
Against Michigan State in a 35-11 loss Saturday at Spartan Stadium, the Wolverines allowed a touchdown with 21 seconds left.
Michigan is 3-5, and in those losses, the scores before halftime have come within the final minute.
Michigan State drove 73 yards on nine plays and Jeremy Langford, who had three rushing touchdowns in the game, scored on a 1-yard run to give Michigan State a 14-3 lead.
"We've got to stop somebody before halftime momentum-wise," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "At halftime, how (the players) were interacting with each other, some of the adjustments that were made, they were really positive."
Michigan allowed Notre Dame to score with 50 seconds left in the first half to build a 21-0 lead. Utah and Minnesota made field goals with no time remaining in the first halves of those games, both taking the lead and going on to win. Michigan allowed a touchdown to Rutgers with 22 seconds before halftime to give the Scarlet Knights a 19-17 lead. Rutgers went on to win.
Staying the course
Michigan players are getting used to the questions after losses regarding the outside noise and the general malaise among the fan base.
"You've just got to let it go and ignore it, that's what you've got to do," said linebacker Jake Ryan, who had 12 tackles against MSU, as did teammate Joe Bolden. "They don't know what we do behind the scenes, so you've just go keep moving forward."
Hoke said after the MSU game what he has said after each game this season, that practices had been very good.
So what's not translating to the games?
"Sometimes the execution at the end, maybe isn't there as much," Hoke said. "You ask that question, and I wish I had a better answer, but I do know we've had really good preparation and really good weeks.
"Once in a while things have gone right, and there's been too many of them it hasn't, though."
Week off didn't help
Michigan had not played a game since beating Penn State two weeks ago.
The Wolverines didn't show any new offensive wrinkles and looked as disjointed as they have much of the season.
"We've talked about byes, sometimes they're good, sometimes they're not so good," Hoke said. "If I would sit here and tell I thought we'd play that way, I would tell you no, not how we prepared and how we practiced. We've just got to keep working at it."
Run defense disappears
Michigan had allowed only three rushing touchdown this season, tied for fifth-fewest allowed in the country.
But Langford rushed for 177 yards and the three touchdowns. Michigan State had 219 rushing yards against a Michigan defense that had allowed an average 93.6 yards rushing entering the game.
"I thought we'd play the run better," Hoke said. "We didn't tackle very well."
Michigan State averaged 4.8 yards a carry, and entering the game Michigan had allowed an average 2.73 yards per rush.
Hoke on whether he's angry with himself: "Always, because I've got to do a better job. See, I'm accountable, and that's how I feel."
Hoke on his team not showing up to play hard against MSU: "They did show up. They played their (expletive) off, played as hard as they could. For you to say that, that's a mistake you're making. These kids work every day, they fight every day for each other.
"Am I angry? I'm angry when they don't get the rewards that they work so hard for. Yes, that makes me angry."