Grades: Brendan Gibbons, defense help Michigan surge past Michigan State late
ANN ARBOR -- Taylor Lewan said Brendan Gibbons went from zero to hero with his game-winning kick in the Sugar Bowl.
Now he's gone from Sugar Bowl hero to Michigan State hero.
Gibbons converted all three of his field-goal attempts Saturday against the Spartans, including a 38-yarder in the final seconds to lift Michigan 12-10 at the Big House.
The win snaps a four-game losing streak against the Spartans.
For as good as the kick feels, it wouldn't have been possible without four catches from receiver Drew Dileo -- each of which had a hand in all 12 points -- and another superb outing from the defense.
A look at how some key players graded out in the win:
Denard Robinson: The quarterback has been a study in wizardry during his career, but not in this series -- and that didn't change Saturday. Robinson struggled rushing the ball most of the day, gaining just 23 yards on 12 carries in the first half before finally breaking a 44-yarder late in the second half. He threw six consecutive incomplete passes in the second half, and missed a wide-open Gallon on third-and-goal at the start of the fourth. He overthrew Jeremy Jackson in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, when he could have run into field-goal position. He was 14-of-29 passing for 163 yards and one interceptions. B-
Drew Dileo: He flies under the radar most days because he doesn't make the big plays like Devin Gardner or Devin Funchess -- but he had some big ones early against Michigan State which accounted for all six of the game's first-half points. He had third-and-long catches of 22 yards and 15 yards to set up one field goal, then a third first-half catch for 35 yards that set up another. His fourth catch was a 20-yarder that pushed Michigan into field-goal range for the game winner with 9 seconds left. ABrendan Gibbons: He knocked through attempts from 24, 21 and 38 yards, the last of which split the uprights to give Michigan the win after it had relinquished a second-half lead. Gibbons also was 3-of-3 in last year's Sugar Bowl, including knocking through an attempt that helped force overtime and another that won it in overtime. He doesn't have great range, but he's got ice in his veins. Money player. A
Raymon Taylor/J.T. Floyd: The starting corners have been stellar this season, leading Michigan's third-ranked pass defense, but Michigan State's receivers gained consistent separation. Andrew Maxwell overthrows masked those mistakes early, but he eventually locked in and picked apart the corners on a touchdown drive to begin the second half. B-
Jordan Kovacs: The captain surpassed 300 career tackles in the first half, then picked off Maxwell in the second half to help swing momentum just as MSU was building some. Michigan turned the interception into three points. Kovacs finished with five tackles. A-
Fitz Toussaint: He finished with 10 carries for 52 yards, a respectable average of 5.2 yards per carry, but 38 of those 52 yards came on one play. He averaged 1.8 yards a pop on the other eight carries, which isn't nearly good enough. Toussaint received all but one of the tailback carries, a week after Michigan found success by getting more backs involved, and the Wolverines returned to anemic production from this position. C-