Michigan Beats Michigan State for First Time Since 2007
The Michigan State Spartans have gone to Ann Arbor and returned to East Lansing without a victory for the first time in five seasons. It has been since 2007 since the Wolverines last beat the Spartans and each game has been heated, seemingly going down to the wire, and today was no exception.
This game will go down as one of the great games in the series and it seems as if the rivalry has seen a rebirth.
The Michigan Wolverines are the proud caretakers of the 4-foot tall Paul Bunyan Trophy that has resided in East Lansing for the past four seasons and and as many Wolverines believe, he is back where he belongs.
Mark Dantonio pulled trick plays out of his back pocket and ran an aggressive offense all day long just to come up short in the final seconds of play on a field goal.
“It was a tough game, a classic game,” Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. “I’m proud of our team. I can live with it. I don’t like it, but it’s all you can ask sometimes.”
Dantonio acknowledged that this was just another classic game in the long list of games in this rivalry.
What does this loss mean for Michigan State? They are now looking to finish off the season on a high note with four games left. The game against the Wolverines, although it was a loss, provides a sense of confidence in this team that can potentially work wonders for them going forward. Granted, they are 4-4 with two straight losses, but their last three losses are by a combined six points.
Six points separate them from a 7-1 record as opposed to a 4-4 record. They failed to muster up any offense in a loss to Ohio State, losing by one point in a physical game. They let the game slip away against Iowa, leading the entire game up until the fourth quarter and losing in overtime by three points. The latest close loss– Michigan kicked a field goal with five seconds left to go ahead 12-10 and a lateral-loaded kickoff return that ended in a loss of yards as time ran out.
This team is, by no means, a bad team. A win in Madison next week could potentially turn the tides of their season and help boost them into a better bowl game.
What does this win mean for Michigan? They are looking at a potential Rose Bowl season. They are now 3-0 in the Big Ten and 5-2 overall. They are smelling roses in Ann Arbor for the first time since the Lloyd Carr era and, coincidentally, that was the last time they defeated their in-state rival.
They now have bragging rights in the state of Michigan and look like the better team. They beat a tough Spartan defense that looked like they had the game in hand– Michigan had the ball at the 45-yard line with 18 seconds left, and a 20-yard completion demoralized the Spartans, knowing a field goal would win it. And it did.
Right now, Michigan is flying high and they have all the confidence in the world with four tough games still to play this season. If they finish the season with no more losses, they will easily be the favorites to win the conference title game and represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. It would be their first Rose Bowl appearance since January of 2007, not having won the coveted bowl game since January of 1998.
Time will tell where these two teams end up and how they finish their seasons, but we all know that a year from now they will be going at it once again to see who the best team in the state is. Chances are that game will be another classic.