Michigan Football vs Michigan State — Looking Back — 2007


The fifth installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State takes us back to 2007. Michigan entered the season with too much confidence that year, and it showed when the Wolverines lost to an up-and-coming Appalachian State squad that has proven to be the East Coast’s answer to Boise State. Still, Michigan rallied, and by the time the Michigan State game rolled around, the Wolverines felt like their old selves again.

However, Michigan State had a new coach, with an old philosophy. Mark Dantonio believed in the I-formation, and focused on using blocking to run the ball. With less than eight minutes to go, Michigan was trailing by 10, and senior quarterback Chad Henne was forced out with a knee injury, putting true freshman Ryan Mallett right in the middle of the storm. When Mallett was hit, he fumbled the ball, and senior tailback Mike Hart alertly picked it up and fought his way for a first down. Henne then re-entered the game and connected with Greg Matthews on a beautiful touchdown pass. With less than three minutes remaining, Henne threw a jump ball into the end zone that was caught by Mario Manningham for an amazing touchdown, and Michigan’s defense held, giving the Wolverines a 28-24 win.

Still, there was something ominous about the victory. Michigan State had gotten back to basics, with running back Jehuu Caulcrick repeatedly pounding the middle of the Michigan defense. Then Mike Hart made the infamous postgame comment in which he referred to Michigan State as “Little Brother.” That was all the ammunition that Dantonio needed, and he’s used it quite effectively to motivate the Spartans over the years.

This brings us to the current contest. How will this year’s game turn out? What direction will the two rivals take after the game? We’ll just have to watch and see.

Thanks to YouTube, ESPN, and YouTube poster WolverineHistorian for the videos below. As always, I own nothing, and I do not profit from this blog post in any way.

About Jeff Cummins

Jeff Cummins has written about football since 1998, including nine years with The Record of Hackensack, N.J. He frequently contributes feature stories to Touchdown Illustrated, an insert in the national college football game program, published by University Sports Publications, and he has also written the official pregame stories for the game programs of the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Gator Bowl, and the BCS National Championship game. He has written the preview story for the official program for the NHL Winter Classic at MIchigan Stadium, and numerous college basketball feature stories for College Hoops Illustrated, another game program insert published by University Sports Publications. In addition, he has written stories about theater, music, physical therapy, and newsletter marketing. He’s an avid Michigan football fan and long-time New York Jets season ticket holder, and he can be reached at jeffcummins@optonline.net.