Michigan vs Michigan State Football — Looking Back – 2015


Looking Back is a Special Feature by Jeff Cummins Highlighting Key Rivalry Games

The fourth installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State takes us back to 2015.

Michigan struggled in the first few games of the Harbaugh era, but by midseason, the Wolverines were clicking in every facet of the game, and the matchup vs. Michigan State was supposed to be the first signature victory of the Harbaugh era.

With just 10 seconds left, Michigan was clinging to a two-point lead, knowing that a good punt should secure a victory. The biggest concern was getting the punt off successfully, which most thought would be easy enough. Still, there was an uneasy feeling about the moment. Something was off, though it was difficult to quantify exactly what it was.

Moments later, we all knew what the problem was. Punter Blake O’Neill had trouble with the snap, and somehow the ball wound up in the hands of the Spartans’ Jaylen Watts-Jackson, who sprinted to the end zone to give Michigan State its first lead of the game, with no time remaining. Just like that, Michigan State stunned Michigan, 27-23.

It all happened so quickly that it didn’t seem real. The visual of a stunned Michigan student on national TV is etched in the memories of Michigan fans around the globe. Just like that, a game that should have been a hard-fought victory became yet another in a string of losses to Michigan State.

The truth is that the loss can’t be merely pinned on just one player’s shoulders. Michigan struggled throughout the game, and the fact that the game was still in question near the end was reason enough for concern. As always, I own nothing. This blog post is strictly for the enjoyment of readers.

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.