Michigan State’s defense smothered Michigan, holding the Wolverines to minus 48 yards—the lowest net rushing total in team history—by recording seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

In its 27-6 victory, the Spartan’s dominating performance proved why they have the No. 1 defense in college football and earned the team selection as the Week 10 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year contest.

Michigan State (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) has won five of the last six meetings with archrival Michigan (6-2, 2-2), and this was the Spartans’ most lopsided win in the series since 1967.

Michigan State can thank its defense, which corralled Michigan to 168 yards total. It was also Michigan State’s third consecutive game without allowing a touchdown.

Spartans quarterback Connor Cook threw for a touchdown and ran for one, but this game belonged to Michigan State’s opportunistic defense. Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard sealed the victory in the fourth quarter when he intercepted Michigan’s Devin Gardner in the red zone, killing a drive that could have made it a one-score game.

MSU leads the nation with five defensive touchdowns and has 16 takeaways total. Currently, the so-called Spartan Dawgs defensive unit is No. 1 nationally in total defense (210.2 ypg), rush defense (43.4 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (90.3 rating) and third in scoring defense (11.6 ppg).

A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season. Last season’s winner was Texas A&M’s 29-24 shocking upset of Alabama in a Southeastern Conference showdown.

This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.