MSU-Michigan grades: Cook continues to imrpess
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Michigan State’s stunning 27-23 victory over Michigan, ending in a muffed punt and the Spartans’ first lead as time expired:
Michigan State Spartans
– For the second week in a row quarterback Connor Cook (+3.2) impressed, and while he wasn’t dominant, his performance kept them in a game where the tough Michigan defense once again looked very good. On throws 20 yards or more downfield, he went five-for-nine for 137 yards and a touchdown. What was frustrating was that his impressive numbers could have been even better, if not for four drops by the Spartans.
– Cook’s favorite target on Saturday was wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (+3.5), who had a fun battle going on all game with star Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis (+1.4). Burbridge beat him for 109 yards on seven catches, but Lewis held his own, finishing the game with four pass breakups as he recovered to make some plays.
– The Spartans welcomed left tackle Jack Conklin (+2.2) back into the lineup and on a night where he faced the toughest defense all year, he proved that he was healthy enough to return as a starter. He didn’t allow a single sack, hit, or hurry in pass protection, continuing his streak of not allowing any pressure all season so far.
DE Shilique Calhoun (+5.7)
DT Malik McDowell (+4.8)
WR Aaron Burbridge (+3.5)
QB Connor Cook (+3.2)
LB Jon Reschke (+2.9)
–In a direct contrast to the Spartans’ signal caller, Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock (-3.0) struggled once again. He brought his grade down to -20.9 on the year, and didn’t look great even when he was completing passes. On 3rd-and-9 with 5:42 left in the third quarter, he underthrew wide receiver Amara Darboh on a go route, turning a potential touchdown into a play where the receiver had to save the reception.
–Rudock and the offense may have struggled once again, but the defense was as impressive as ever. Defensive end Chris Wormley (+4.5) looked good both against the run and as a pass rusher, where he registered a sack, a hit and a hurry to go along with a batted pass. He finished the game with two defensive stops, rounding out another big game from him.
–Defensive tackle Willie Henry (+5.1) was another player who stood out with four defensive stops, including the two sacks that were part of the five total pressures he registered on the day. It could have been an even higher grade for Henry, but he let himself down with an unnecessary roughness penalty on third down that extended a Michigan State drive.
DT Willie Henry (+5.1)
DE Chris Wormley (+4.5)
LB Desmond Morgan (+3.6)
LB Ben Gedeon (+3.4)
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (+3.4)