Blair White picked a heckuva day to have a coming out party. The former walk-on wide receiver was Brian Hoyer's favorite target in Michigan State's 35-21 victory over Michigan.
White caught 4 passes on the day for 143 yards. He broke the scoring open with a 61-yard touchdown, running through a tackle and outdistancing the Wolverine defense for a message-sending score.
Then, in the third quarter, with UM leading by a touchdown, White wheeled off a 50-yarder on a long third down, a pivotal play that kept the Wolverines from beginning a drive with a lead and good field position.
In typical rivalry game fashion, big hits and turnovers filled the afternoon's festivities. Controversy made an appearance as well.
Two unusual plays characterized Michigan's first scoring drive. Hoyer fumbled as he attempted to brace himself with his ball-hand as he was being tackled. Soon after, Brandon Minor pulled in a pass near the endzone that was initially ruled incomplete. After video review, however, the call was reversed, with the explanation that because Minor's ankle hit the pylon as he came down out of bounds, the play would be ruled a touchdown.
NCAA rules seem to indicate that if a player only touches the pylon, and does not remain in the field of play, he should be ruled out of bounds. Dantonio and staff will surely be awaiting a clear explanation of the ruling.
The Wolverines took a 21-14 lead before MSU put the hammer down.
Out-gaining UM all afternoon, the Spartans eventually wore down their opponent with a mixture of Javon Ringer and the Spartan offensive line pounding the ball relentlessly and heady play by Hoyer.
Ringer gained 194 yards on 37 carries with two touchdowns and Hoyer threw for 282 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
On the Spartans' final drive before they assumed the victory formation (taking a knee), a drive set up by a Chris L. Rucker interception, Ringer rushed 8 straight times, marching the Spartans toward a Hoyer touchdown pass to Josh Rouse and eating 3:47 off the clock.
The Spartan defense played a strong game as well, really only getting beat consistently on a 30 second, 65-yard drive late in the first half. The unit finished with 4 turnovers -- three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The special teams, however, made the game much closer for the Spartans than the yardage disparity (473-252) might have otherwise indicated.
Brett Swenson missed three field goals, coming up short on a 50-yarder, having one blocked and missing a 24-yarder preceded by a bad snap.
In the end, the Green & White gave Dantonio and the Michigan State football team a program-defining game.