Michigan vs Michigan State Football — Looking Back – 2012

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

The first chapter in this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State takes us back to 2012. The previous season had been wonderful for Michigan, as the maize & blue had firmly reestablished their birthright of national football relevance. But there had been one snag. Brady Hoke’s first team found a way to lose to Michigan State.

As 2012 rolled around, Hoke was reminded of that fact, almost hourly. The flash and dash of the Rich Rodriguez-inspired zone read spread option offense hadn’t worked against Michigan State; neither had UM quarterback Denard Robinson been able to summon up his customary magic. None of the new age stuff worked against the Spartans, but that was just what Hoke was built for. He realized immediately that the Michigan-Michigan State game had always been about smashmouth football, and on Oct. 20, 2012, Hoke reintroduced the Wolverines to a Schembechler tradition: Michigan played old-fashioned, rock ‘em, sock ‘em football, punctuated by an aggressive, bone-crunching defense.

Sure enough, the game proceeded in classic Big Ten fashion, as a low-scoring, field position-oriented struggle, with Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and MSU defensive end Will Gholston waging a battle for the ages. The teams traded the lead a few teams in the fourth quarter, and on the final drive, Robinson scrambled and connected with receiver Drew Dileo for a critical 20-yard gain that set up Brendan Gibbons for a 38-yard field goal that brought the Paul Bunyan trophy back to the Michigan locker room.

Thanks to youtube poster parkinggod and the Big Ten Network for the attached highlight film. As always, we own nothing and this film and blog post are used strictly for the enjoyment of our 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.