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Also available on iTunes.
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The Wolverines confronted the Spartans in refurbished Spartan Stadium for the second straight year due to scheduling vagaries. Last year’s trip ended with an earned MSU victory 26 to 9. This year’s trip ended in a demoralizing loss and did nothing to salvage Brady Hoke’s slumping Michigan Head Coaching Career. Although Coach Hoke would not admit it pregame, this was a red letter game, more than just another rivalry game. It was the most significant game of his career as the Wolverine’s Head Man.
The Wolverines had put themselves in the unenviable position of having to win five straight to salvage a respectable season. After Saturday, they have just four chances left, and chances of winning all four are indeed iffy. When your offense can’t score TDs against defenses with a pulse, you are headed towards the bottom. I think that Devin Gardner played the worst game of his career and I wondered why Shane Morris didn’t get more of a shot late. He got one play.
Although I have supported Devin this past season, partly because he has been physically courageous, it is time to get someone ready for next season, although I don’t know if this staff can look forward to next season. The continuous litany of Gardner errors helps make it impossible to score enough to win. While the offensive line at time provided holes and pass protection they still are not a strongpoint of the team.
At stake this year was more than the unheralded Paul Bunyan trophy, more than bragging rights, or repayment for pranks. Greeted with ho hums in Ann Arbor when then Governor G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams created the four foot trophy in the 1950s, this year it was coveted in Ann Arbor with gusto because the Wolverines were looking for a much needed signature win. The Bunyan was regarded by disdain in 1953 by the M Athletic Department, and they didn’t even engrave it their first two possessions. Michigan State had our wins inscribed when it was in their possession for the first time.
The Spartans have become the dominant college football team in the State of Michigan. After 2007 they have bested the Wolverines 6 times and the Wolverines have managed just 1 win.
So much for the forty years in which the Spartans won only occasionally and then sometimes by questionable means such as the obvious but uncalled tripping of Desmond Howard in the end zone forcing a drop of what would have been winning TD pass, and the “clock-gate” cheating, which they also celebrate. Lately they have been producing real wins again as they did in the fifties and sixties, and they are catching the Buckeyes as major pains in the Wolverine’s tail.
The M team, the coaching staff, and the athletic director were all in need of a signature win, not to mention the fans. This team is still searching for an offensive identity.
The coaching staff, especially Head Coach Brady Hoke, had been held toes to the fire nationwide by the press recently for what some called on field game mismanagement, including the now infamous “concussion-gate” involving QB Shane Morris.
Some were calling for immediate dismissal of both he and AD Brandon, for that and, in Brandon’s case, a feud with the student ticket holders, among other criticisms. Many fans were unhappy with either or both. The disappointing performance of the Wolverines on the field this season has aggravated fan discontent. The Wolverines could not compete Saturday.
Brandon has been making a strenuous effort to allay some concerns. He has developed a system of negotiation with the students, and they showed up en masse for the PSU home game in M Stadium prior to the bye week.
But further image repair is still necessary for both, and that need is aggravated by this loss, much to the enjoyment of MSU fans.
The keys to AD Brandon’s future are in the hands of the new University of Michigan President, Dr. Mark Schlissel, who is studying the situation intensively and thoroughly.
While many fans have had their patience exhausted because of declining fortunes in the win column, and Brady Hoke has been working hard to get himself, and his team out from behind the eight ball, only wins can do that. This Saturday was a prime opportunity to do just that in the Wolverine’s biggest game of the season, and the Wolverines were not competitive. MSU dominated. Consider 446 net yards of offense to Michigan’s 186 net yards of offense. Domination?
SOME PREGAME CONCEPTIONS, MISCONCEPTIONS AND OPINIONS
That Big Ten Champion MSU was the best team in the Big Ten in 2013 was supported by their record of 13 wins, Rose Bowl Championship, and a year-end third place in the final 2013 polls. This is undisputed. They have a magnificent defense again. If not great in all categories this year as last, they were good enough in all categories to lay the Wolverines away.
Spartan QB Connor Cook drove his predecessor Maxwell to the bench, and has continued his outstanding development this year. He had a couple of outstanding jaunts, threw some nice passes and knew when to throw the ball away. Saturday he was the best QB on the field. He’s cooking. Cook was 12 of 22 for 221-yards. He was sacked once and threw no interceptions and a TD.
Spartan running Back Jeremy Langford ran very, very hard, often dragging the pile. Langford ran for 177-yards and scored twice on 35-carries. M’s De’Veon Smith lugged eleven times for 39-yards and a TD, and Justice Hayes did well running and pass blocking.
Several great MSU receivers stirred their offensive soup. Lippert especially, as he caught three for 103-yards, including a 70-yard TD pass. He had an outstanding day.
They have a pair of monster Defensive Ends, Shilique Calhoun, and the appropriately named Marcus Rush, and they were outstanding.
The interior of their defensive line was also outstanding. The back end of the defense clearly missed last year’s Dennard, and this season State had sometimes been subject to successful aerial assault. Not so much against the Wolverines. Their CBs did a nice job of disrupting catches.
While Michigan’s defense outperformed its offensive counterparts, they still gave up a big 70-yard TD pass play, and 28-points (7 points were the result of an MSU interception return). Jake Ryan and Joe Bolden each had 12 tackles.
Michigan’s prime wide outs, Funchess and Darboh both dropped catchable passes. Narrow misses, but misses all the same. Jake Butt caught one for a desperation 1st down, and Freddy Canteen had another for a near TD, confirmed short on review.
It was thought MSU’s blitzing defenses sometimes gave up big plays. Not Saturday.
Spartan special teams this year were not as special as when DeAndrea Cobb zipped downfield, and they seemed more vulnerable than last year. Their FG kicker missed an easy 36-yard FG late in the first half, and M’s Hagerup out punted them all day, producing two 50-yarders. Unfortunately, Hagerup’s average was diminished when his punted ball consistently hit the ground end first, bouncing and rolling back from deeper MSU territory.
The old adage is that the team that rushes best wins this game, as proved in 41 of 44 prior games. And so it proved again.
To win the Wolverines had to conquer that persistent turnover bugaboo. Michigan nearly lead the nation in gifts. They have made them all season long, but have received few in return.
Saturday the Wolverines did get two fumbles. Devin Gardner made up for this advantage, losing one fumble, and a pair of interceptions. One was a thoughtless shovel pass to the Spartans, as he hurried to get rid of the ball. Devin Gardner did not play well enough to win in the biggest game of the year. His throws were often off. He had an erratic game.
The Wolverines had to score multiple TDs to win against State this year. Had to put more than 35 points on the board. Scoring has been a problem against MSU in recently, and has been a Wolverine offensive problem all year, so this was a tall order.
The Wolverines got a consolation TD, which ended the day count by the Green Meanies regarding the amount of time since the Wolverines had scored a TD against them. Always a team sport, Gardner had help losing it. MSU is a good team, but this was a remarkable failure in significant part due to Devin’s gaffs.
BRIEF GAME RECAP
The Blue won the toss, but the Spartans went 75-yards to score, as Langford ran in from the two yard line. A Lippert catch was a key part of the drive, and before Michigan got to touch the ball MSU was on top by seven. MSU’s Greg Frey whacked Devin with his helmet, was called for targeting a hit on Amara Darboh, and was tossed from the game. He walked off the field to roaring approval of the MSU crowd, which he elicited by rising arms like he had made a great play. Gardner then spoiled great field position with a fumble. Michigan held in the red zone. The first quarter ended with Spartans up 7.
In the second quarter, the Wolverines sputtered, but so did the Spartans as they went for an iffy 4th and 7, instead of an available field goal. Subsequently MSU missed the short field goal after losing 13-yards in the red zone. After another M punt, the Wolverines recovered a Spartan fumble as the result of a great Jerrod Wilson hit, which D. Hill recovered on the MSU 31. Matt Wile then connected on a 48-yard field goal, and it was 3-7.
State used the last 3:30 of the first half to stage a 73-yard drive capped by a one yard Langford TD run, establishing another late first half defensive failure. This has become a habit this season. It was 14-3 at the half.
MSU was leading the statistics and score, but the Wolverines were still in the game and had the ball to start the second half. The MSU defense was up to the task. They later collared an errant Gardner throw, and ran it in for a 29-yard TD. Now it was 21-3 in the middle of the third quarter. Hope began to evaporate, and was completely extinguished when Tony Lippert caught a 70-yard Cook TD pass. It was 28-3 at the end of the third quarter. The Wolverines were cooked.
Still the Wolverines battled to the MSU six, but Devin was stopped while attempting a run trying to get a first down on fourth down. He fell inches short of the fourth and five first down, as he was turned around on a great play by the Spartans. I was surprised and disappointed that there was not a measurement.
With just a little more than five minutes on the clock, M recovered a fumble on the Spartan’s thirty-three yard line. Catches by Funchess and Canteen advanced it to one and Smith bulled it in on his second attempt for a TD. His first TD was called back. Canteen had almost scored but he was outside the marker, and a review confirmed he was a yard short of the plane. Devin then threw a short Pass to Jake Butt for two..
The game closed 11 to 35, after MSU drove for another TD.
If it is any consolation, M still leads the series 68-34-6.
There is nothing that can mask the fact that Team 135 is in downward free fall. The fact that they may have difficulty winning any more games this season is apparent. Their best chance seems to be Indiana, but who knows. They do not have an offense that is consistently competitive in the Big Ten.
M’s prime time receivers must be wearing mittens, because they keep dropping key passes. Funchess, Darboh, Norfleet. In fairness, some of the passes are too high, behind, or plain out of reach of receivers. Not as many would be errant if pass receivers would finish their routes every time.
Part of it was MSU’s good play, but part of it is on the receivers, and of course, Gardner. QB Devin Gardner has regressed, and seems to lack confidence. To date, OC Nussmeier has not been an improvement over prior OC Borges. Not in results.
The OL is at best Big Ten ordinary, if that, and will likely not be much better this year.
Rushing was therefore an adventure. Twenty-eight plays for sixty-five yards, and an underwhelming 2.3 average is not good enough. Fifty seven plays for 3.3-yards per carry constituted the total offense. A great job by MSU, not so great by the Wolverines.
Special teams, outside of Wile’s kicking and Hagerup’s punting, did little to help.
I have been watching M football for over 65-years, and this was the most disorganized I have ever seen a Michigan offense.
Inexplicably, the players drove a spike in the ground pre-game which provided more fuel to the MSU fire. This disrespect will be a source of satisfaction to MSU for a long time.
An ABC sideline reporter made a snide, cutesy comment regarding Michigan when talking of Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona Wildcats, saying, in effect that maybe, when searching for a Coach, M should consider er, RR. For shame, ABC!
The swirling winds of discontent and change surrounding Michigan’s football are deservedly reaching gale force, as the offense continues to sink, and the coaches continue to fumble for solutions and can’t find them. It looks like hard work and unity alone cannot solve the problems.
Anyway, whichever way the wind blows, I intend to continue to ….
The fifth installment of the series on the Michigan-Michigan State football rivalry takes us back to 2007, at a time when that phrase, “Little Brother,” became a flashpoint of sorts in the rivalry. Michigan running back Mike Hart used the phrase after Michigan came back from a significant deficit to beat Michigan State, 28-24, in arguably the most compelling game in recent memory. Of all the games in the rivalry, this one seems to encapsulate all the emotions on both sides better than any other game in the series history.
In truth, Hart was merely repeating a phrase that Michigan State running back Javon Ringer used prior to the game. Unfortunately for the Maize & Blue, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, then in his first season, used Hart’s comment as ammunition to fuel the Spartans’ collective fire. Dantonio conveniently forgot that Ringer was the first person to use that comment, and mentioned Hart’s comment specifically, saying, “Pride goes before the fall.” Sadly for the Wolverines, Dantonio has proved to be a master strategist, capable of manipulating every emotion to make sure his team feels like an underdog that constantly has something to prove. Worse still, the Spartans have proved they are a serious contender in the Big Ten Conference, something that irks every Michigan fan and alum around the globe.
But in 2007, Michigan had started to play with a chip on its shoulder. After starting the season 0-2, the Wolverines picked themselves up and started playing gritty football, fighting with every fiber of their beings to overcome all the adversity they had faced earlier in the season.
In a sense, the Wolverines entered Spartan Stadium without the burden of playing in front of their home fans. The Spartans grabbed the early lead on a 36-yard field goal by Brett Swenson. Then the Wolverines went to work. At the MSU 49-yard line, Hart juked his way past the defensive line and rumbled 38 yards to the Michigan State 11. Then quarterback Chad Henne found receiver Mario Manningham in the corner of the end zone, and Michigan jumped ahead, 7-3. After Wolverines’ defensive back Jamar Adams intercepted State quarterback Brian Hoyer, Hart ran for another 32 yards, putting the ball at the Michigan State 10. Three plays later, Henne found Carson Butler for his second touchdown pass of the day, and Michigan took a comfortable 14-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, that comfort turned out to be fleeting, at best. Michigan State roared back, leaning heavily on bruising fullback Jehuu Caulcrick in short-yardage situations. With three running backs lined up in a Power I formation, Caulcrick banged over to give the Spartans their first touchdown of the day. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hoyer connected with Kellen Davis for the go-ahead touchdown, and Michigan State led, 17-14. The Spartans then increased that lead Caulcrick went in for an easy touchdown, and the Spartans took a 10-point lead with only 7:40 remaining in the game. If the Wolverines were going to pull out a heroic victory, they had to start soon – even though they weren’t perfectly healthy. A hobbling Henne gave way to true freshman Ryan Mallett, who was promptly sacked by Michigan State, fumbling the ball in the process. Once again, Hart saved the Wolverines, scooping up Mallett’s fumble and running 11 yards for a first down, pushing Spartan defenders back in the process. Then Henne returned to the field, limping in Willis Reed-esque fashion, and suddenly Michigan started to play clutch football. Greg Matthews ran past a defensive back in the end zone to catch a 14-yard touchdown pass, and suddenly the Block M stood for Momentum. On the ensuing series, the Michigan defense finally stopped Caulcrick on a 3rd down and 2 yards to go, giving the Wolverines the ball back with plenty of time left on the clock. With the ball at the Michigan State 31, Henne faded back and looked deep for Manningham, who caught the ball falling down backward for the winning score. After that, Michigan’s defense pummeled the Spartans for four consecutive plays, and it was over.
Naturally, numerous players went on to play in the NFL, and after playing four years in the league, Hart chose to begin his coaching career. Hart was both popular and polarizing during his Michigan career, and he famously disagreed with comments that former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh made about the football program during Hart’s playing career at UM. Hart also alluded once to being the head coach at Michigan some day. Given his own track record of success against Michigan State, Hart would certainly get the Wolverines fired up to win that game. Would he be the perfect foil to Dantonio? It’s an interesting question, to say the least.
Thanks to ABC Sports and youtube poster WolverineHistorian for the footage of this game. As always, I own nothing.
Jeff Cummins may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the late 1970s, the Michigan football program was riding high. Bo Schembechler was recruiting great players to Ann Arbor, and the Wolverines had just topped Notre Dame, in the first game played between those rivals in decades. The Wolverines were heading into the game against Michigan State with a perfect record and plenty of momentum.
Still, there was something wrong heading into that ’78 game, the fourth installment in this series on the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry. The Spartans featured Kirk Gibson, a gritty, fiery wide receiver who went on to earn fame a decade later for hitting a walk-off home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of the 1988 World Series. It’s a little known fact that Gibson played college football before switching to baseball, and he could have easily played professional football, as well. At 6 feet, 3 inches and 215 pounds, Gibson was an imposing figure who possessed surprising speed and an almost irresistible force of will. That attitude made all of Gibson’s teams better, including the ’78 Spartans, who arrived at Michigan Stadium as underdogs who had something to prove. The Spartans knew that Michigan was coming into the game with an undefeated record, and they were acutely aware that Michigan had beaten them eight years in a row.
For Michigan, everything was going right, or so it seemed. Despite their success under Schembechler, the Wolverines of the 1970s had a maddening tendency to roll over all regular season opponents, except for one — and that one varied from year to year. In 1978, it was Michigan State.
Michigan largely held its own throughout the first quarter, allowing only a field goal. In the second quarter, the Spartans took control. Quarterback Eddie Smith found running back Lonnie Middleton all alone for a swing pass that went 13 yards for a touchdown. A touchdown was one thing, but players almost never got that wide open on a Wolverine defense that featured Ron Simpkins at linebacker. Things got worse for the Maize and Blue, as Mark Anderson intercepted a Rick Leach pass on the ensuing possession and returned it to the Michigan 20, where he was tackled by Leach. Four plays later, Middleton dove over the goal line from the 1-yard line and the Spartans were comfortably ahead, 17-0.
The Wolverines got back into the game on the first possession of the third quarter, as Harlan Huckleby carried eight times during a 70-yard drive, which culminated in a 3-yard scoring run by Leach to cut the deficit to 17-7. But on this day, there would be no heroic comeback for Michigan. Smith connected with Gibson for 15 yards on the first play of the drive, and on the eight play, Smith completed a pass to Mark Brammer, who broke a tackle and went 11 yards for the touchdown, putting Michigan State up, 24-7. Schembechler’s men played valiantly in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines weren’t built to come back from such a sizable deficit, and they fell to Michigan State, 24-15.
Michigan State finished the season 8-3, while the Wolverines recovered very nicely, finishing the regular season 10-1, winning the Big Ten championship with a third consecutive victory over Ohio State. Unfortunately, the Wolverines lost to USC in the Rose Bowl, 17-10.
Following their college football careers, both Gibson and Leach played Major League Baseball together for three seasons with the Detroit Tigers. By 1984, Gibson was with the Blue Jays in Toronto; while Gibson and the Tigers went on to win the World Series that season. Leach has to wonder what it would have been like to be with the Tigers during that championship season.
It’s also fair to guess that Leach must have dreamed what might have happened if Gibson had played for Michigan instead of Michigan State. The Wolverines had plenty of talent on offense, with Doug Marsh and tight end and Huckleby at running back, among many other talented players. But Gibson would have Leach still another option, making the passing game stronger, and creating even more opportunities for Leach the ball carrier. Would Gibson have helped the Wolverines if he played for Michigan? Well, it’s reasonable to think that he would have led the Wolverines to a win over Michigan State, and it’s also a pretty fair argument that Gibson might have been the critical factor that would have pushed Michigan past USC in the Rose Bowl.
With few videos available on this, I’ve provided a link to the box score, posted on Michigan’s web site by the Bentley Historical Library, and I’m grateful for access to that box score. As always, I own none of this content.
Jeff Cummins may be reached at email@example.com.
The third installment of the Michigan-Michigan State series takes us back to 1997. Most of us were just getting used to the Internet at that time, and many of us were enjoying the robust late 1990s national economy. For those of us in the Maize & Blue, it was the best of times, and, well…THE BEST OF TIMES! Sure, every Michigan fan and alum knew about the glorious teams of coach Fielding H. Yost and the “Mad Magicians” of coach Harry Kipke, but for many of us, this was the first time that we actually saw a Michigan team go the distance, finishing 12-0 with a Big Ten championship, a Rose Bowl victory, and a share of the national championship.
That’s not to say the season was all easy sailing. There were some challenges along the way, and as we all know, any time the Wolverines are strong, it’s extra motivation for the Spartans, so nobody was overlooking that game when the Wolverines traveled to East Lansing on a gray in the middle of the season.
Sure, enough, the Spartans started off by giving the Wolverines fits. Late in the first quarter, Michigan State faked a field goal and holder Bill Burke jumped up and threw a pass to a wide-open Sedrick Irvin, giving the Spartans a 7-3 lead. Undaunted, Michigan went right back to work and made it pretty obvious that they were going to physically manhandle the Spartans all day. The Michigan defense harassed starting quarterback Todd Schultz relentlessly, forcing six interceptions, including two apiece by Charles Woodson and Marcus Ray. Woodson’s first interception was arguably the most amazing pick in college football history, as he leaped into the air, grabbed the ball with his right hand and came down with one foot in bounds. That the Michigan offense failed to capitalize on Woodson’s play meant little; the Wolverines had succeeded in demoralizing the Spartans. From that point, there was no doubt which team was in charge. If there was any disappointment for Michigan at all, it was that Tommy Hendricks had dropped an interception. Had Hendricks made the pick, every starting player in Michigan’s secondary would have had at least one interception that day.
Lost amid all the hoopla about Woodson’s electrifying first pick were dominating performances by both the Michigan offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line paved the way for Clarence Williams and Chris Howard to gash the Spartans’ defense, while the Michigan defensive line contested every play the Michigan State offense tried.
Thanks to ESPN and youtube poster WolverineHistorian for the footage. As always, I own nothing.
Jeff Cummins may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gary Moeller era is probably one of the most underappreciated times in Michigan football history. Moeller succeeded his former boss, Bo Schembechler, but unlike most people who take over for living legends, Moeller produced teams that were pretty strong, and despite his exit in 1994, his era set many of the building blocks that would be in place when Michigan won the national championship in 1997 season.
Still, Wolverine fans will remember the 1990 season for one game, and particularly just one play: The failed 2-point conversion against Michigan State.
Elvis Grbac had just completed a fade to Derrick Alexander in the near corner of the north end zone to bring Michigan within one point. Moeller chose to go for two points, a move that Brady Hoke duplicated more than two decades later. As Grbac took the snap from center, receiver Desmond Howard cut inside on a slant pattern, where Michigan State defensive back Eddie Brown appeared to grab Howard’s waist with his left hand, and as Howard moved past Brown, the Spartan defensive reached with his right and appeared to trip Howard. Still, Howard got the ball, and appeared to land with the ball in his possession, but once he hit the ground, it squirted away.
At first glance, it appeared that 1) Howard caught the pass for a 2-point conversion, 2) Brown had committed a holding infraction against Howard, and 3) Brown had interfered with Howard on the play. Yet, none of those results were called. Instead, the officials ruled the play an incomplete pass. Twenty-four years later, this remains one of the most controversial and surreal plays in the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, and in Michigan football history. Despite only taking a few seconds, the play almost seemed to unfold in slow motion. And the result seemed to proceed against all logic, with virtually every observer waiting for some sort of justice…that never occurred.
With six seconds left in the game, Michigan attempted an onsides kick, which worked when Vada Murray recovered in Michigan State territory, giving the Wolverines one final shot at victory. Rather than throwing a pass to the sideline to set up a field goal attempt, Grbac rolled out and launched pass toward the end zone, having narrowly escaped the clutches of the Michigan State defensive line. With a log jam in the end zone, Grbac’s pass was intercepted, and the Wolverines’ chances for victory were finished as well. Despite clearly coming down with the ball after having been held and interfered with, Howard’s catch was ruled incomplete, and the Spartans held on for a 28-27 victory.
Michigan finished the season 9-3, with a win over Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl. Still, few were smiling in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines lost to Iowa by one point just a week after they lost to Michigan State by one point, and any hopes for a Big Ten championship were finished.
As the years went by, Howard went on to become a Michigan Legend, having his jersey dedicated in a ceremony in 2011 in the first night game at Michigan Stadium. After leaving Michigan, Howard won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, adding a Super Bowl MVP trophy to his Heisman Trophy. Since retiring, he’s made a name for himself as part of the CollegeDay crew with ESPN. Derrick Alexander played nine years in the NFL before retiring. Elvis Grbac played nine years in the NFL as well, and has since returned to his alma mater, St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where he serves as an assistant quarterbacks coach.
Thanks to ABC Sports and youtube poster Stephen Barnett for the footage of the game. As always, I own nothing.Jeff Cummins can be reached at email@example.com.
The ‘60s were a brutal time for Michigan football. With the political and social turbulence of the era, students often turned their attention to events other than football. Everyone liked the guy who coached the team, but the Wolverines played before a lot of empty seats in Michigan Stadium. Yes, I know that sounds familiar, but it all changed once Bo Schembechler was hired.
Sadly, while Bo conquered the enemy to the south in his first year, he didn’t conquer the enemy further up the road off I-96 West. Michigan State had fielded powerful teams for the better part of two decades, and the Spartans didn’t feel like welcoming Schembechler to the Big Ten with open arms. Being a resilient man, Bo made sure his Wolverines changed that in 1970.
Year 2 of the Bo era found the Wolverines hungry to beat a Spartan team that had been a thorn in their sides for nearly two decades. The Wolverines’ balanced offense kept State off balance all day, gaining a total of 460 yards in a 34-20 Michigan win. Billy Taylor carried 29 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns, while Don Moorhead completed 12 0f 19 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown. After spotting Michigan State a 7-0 lead, Michigan went on an 80-yard scoring drive, resulting in a touchdown when Taylor broke a tackle and went 26 yards down the left sideline for the tying score. With score tied 13-13 at halftime, Michigan broke the deadlock by giving the Michigan State defense a healthy dose of Taylor, who carried nine times on the first series of the second half, scoring from four yards out over right tackle to give the Wolverines a 20-13 lead. The drive was classic Bo, who let the offensive line impose its will on the Spartans. Defensive back Thom Darden intercepted a pass on State’s ensuing possession, giving Michigan the ball at the State 31. With the run firmly established, the offense returned to its balanced attack, and Moorhead connected with Fritz Seyferth on an 8-yard touchdown pass that put the Wolverines ahead by a comfortable margin.
Unlike many games between the Wolverines and the Spartans, the 1970 game was not controversial, and it wasn’t all that exciting, either. It was methodical, which was exactly what Bo had planned, and it marked the first of eight consecutive Michigan victories in the series, leaving no doubt that the Maize and Blue were in charge again.
Thanks to youtube poster Wolverine Historian, who posted the coaches’ film of this game. As always, I own nothing. Jeff Cummins may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.