- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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Well, that happened last night. The Spartans bullied Michigan even though Taylor Lewan said it wouldn't happen. Spartan Stadium chanted "little sister, little sister" just six years after Mike Hart called MSU a "little brother." And the Wolverines racked up a wildly impressive -48 rushing yards.
So Paul Bunyan will return to East Lansing for the next year. But here are a few things we learned in Michigan's 23-point loss to the Spartans.
1. There's still so much we don't know. By Week 10, a team should have some kind of an identity. The Wolverines haven't found that identity yet. And that should be incredibly troubling to anyone associated with the program. The Wolverines' chances of a Big Ten title all but slipped away in the loss (really, the wheels would have to completely fall off for multiple programs just for the Wolverines to have a chance). And here's the laundry list of issues for U-M:
Is this really the best five for the offensive line?
Will the run game ever get started?
What's up with Devin Gardner?
Can Michigan get a consistent pass rush?
What's going on in the secondary?
How much is the road affecting Michigan?
2. It is in fact possible for the rushing game to be worse than it was against Penn State. Remember when people thought Fitzgerald Toussaint's one yard per rush average against the Nittany Lions was bad? Try Michigan averaging that as a team against Michigan State (1.2 yards per rush when sacks are taken out). Gardner accounted for -46 yards, but without his sacks his average was an abysmal .3 yards per rush and Toussaint rushed a slightly better 2.5 yards per rush. Yes, the Spartans defense lived up to its billing of a stout front seven.
3. The next month could be rough. The Wolverines host Nebraska, travel to Iowa and Northwestern and then face Ohio State into Ann Arbor. Three losses aren't completely out of the question, especially considering the lows that we've seen out of the Wolverines. For a season that started (as every season under Brady Hoke does) with hopes of a Big Ten championship, this one could end up being the least successful yet of Hoke's tenure.