It took an hour longer than it should have because of a lightning delay in the first quarter, but No. 6 Michigan and Jim Harbaugh picked up their second straight win over No. 24 Michigan State in East Lansing, beating the Spartans 21-7. It was Michigan's second win in the last three meetings with Michigan State after the Spartans pulled off a run of seven wins in eight years. More importantly, Michigan killed another boogeyman, ending its 17-game losing streak on the road against ranked teams.

Before Saturday, Michigan hadn't won a road game against a ranked opponent since beating No. 2 Notre Dame 47-21 on Sept. 16, 2006. A brief 12 years is all it took.

The win comes on the heels of a 38-13 win over Wisconsin at home last week.

Here are a few takeaways from this game.

1. This win was more impressive than the win against Wisconsin. I wrote earlier in the week that while Michigan's win over Wisconsin was an excellent way to prove that the 2018 version of this team wasn't the 2017 version, a win on the road against Michigan State would be more impressive. This was because Michigan has always been good at home under Jim Harbaugh and average on the road, as well as that 17-game losing streak on the road against ranked opponents. Well, while this win doesn't suddenly prove that Michigan is a contender for a national title this season, it sends a message that the Wolverines are the biggest threat to Ohio State in the Big Ten.

Of course, none of this will mean anything if Michigan trips up and loses to Penn State in two weeks. If the Wolverines do get past the Nittany Lions, though, the only thing standing between them and a Big Ten title shot will be the Buckeyes. After getting so many other monkeys off their back this season, Ohio State is the 500-pound gorilla perched on their collarbone.

2. Michigan's defense will keep it in the game against any team it faces. Michigan's offense can get a bit stale at times. This isn't a massive problem for the Wolverines, however, because the defense will keep it in any game against any opponent. It's just that good, and Saturday was only more evidence as it made the Michigan State offense look like a high school junior varsity outfit. It held the Michigan State offense to 94 yards on Saturday. Not in a quarter, or in a half -- in the game.

While the wind didn't help, Michigan's defense harassed Brian Lewerke all day, and he finished with a stat line that hurts your eyes to look at: 5-for-25 for 66 yards passing. Look at that again if you dare.

Not that the Spartans could run the ball any better, finishing with 15 yards on 23 carries. Those are the official numbers, which include sacks, but even if you remove the sacks, the Spartans still finished with 44 yards on 19 carries.

It was a dominating performance from the get-go. Michigan State's only touchdown came after Michigan fumbled inside its 10-yard line, giving the Spartans a first-and-goal.

3. Shea Patterson will decide how far this team can go. While the defense will keep Michigan in every game, if the Wolverines want to take things to the next level, Patterson will have to be the player that gets them there. The quarterback is always relevant, and Patterson brings another dynamic to this offense. While Karan Higdon (33 carries, 144 yards) is the engine, Patterson's the one driving the car. When he isn't making mistakes, this offense can do good things.

The Wolverines faced a tough defense on Saturday too and had to deal with the same weather conditions, but Patterson was 14-for-25 with 212 yards passing and two touchdowns. More importantly, during crucial scoring drives in the second half, Patterson used his legs to pick up first downs and extend drives.

While he doesn't have to put up crazy numbers like Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa do on a weekly basis, if Patterson can just continue to play consistently and provide a threat through the air -- his 79-yard TD pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones is what broke this game open -- then this is a Michigan team that can compete with anybody in the country.

4. Michigan State may consider a change at QB. Brian Lewerke is not the problem with Michigan State's offense, but I'm not sure he's the solution, either. The Spartans came into Saturday's contest ranked 9th in the Big Ten with a passing efficiency of 125.55. Lewerke entered the game completing 60 percent of his passes, but he was averaging only 7.1 yards per attempt and had eight touchdowns to go with seven interceptions.

Those numbers didn't improve on Saturday.

I already told you Lewerke was 5-for-25 for 66 yards, but those numbers don't tell the entire story. You can tell he was inaccurate, but Lewerke was missing guys by 10 yards. I don't know if it was intentional, or how much effect the wind was having -- it wasn't having the same impact on Patterson -- but Lewerke looked lost.

Some of this may be a snowball effect from being behind an offensive line that's had difficulty blocking all season and was forced to deal with a terrific Michigan defense. But there's a part of me wondering if Michigan State might be better off giving somebody else a shot next week against Purdue. In the last two weeks, Lewerke has gone 29-for-77 for 325 yards. The Spartans got away with it last week, pulling off the win, but you aren't going to win often with numbers like those.

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