Michigan vs Michigan State Football — Looking Back – 2022

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

The final installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State takes us back just one year, to the 2022 matchup.

By 2022, Michigan’s status as one of the elite powers in college football had been firmly reestablished. By contrast, Michigan State was struggling. Just a year earlier, Spartan fans and alumni puffed out their chests and shouted, “Tuck comin!” By 2022, Michigan State seemed to have lost its way.

For its part, Michigan had undergone some changes in 2022. Do-everything superstar Aidan Hutchinson had graduated and joined the neighboring Detroit Lions in the NFL. JJ McCarthy had won the quarterback competition against Cade McNamara and he and running back Blake Corum were now the clear leaders of the team.

Truth be told, the game itself was pretty boring. Michigan exhibited a methodical dominance that seemed to lull Michigan State to sleep. On the field, at least.

The Wolverines relied on five field goals by Jake Moody to top the Spartans, 29-7. The onslaught of field goals produced the numbing effect of Novocain.

Oddly enough, the real drama began after the game ended. The viral power of social media produced sketchy reports of a fracas in the tunnel following the game. Rumors on social media platforms quickly gave way to credible news reports detailing a violent confrontation. Even the most cynical football fans were stunned.

The confrontation in the tunnel raised tensions between the two institutions to an unprecedented level. The months following the game produced an animosity that represented more than mere bragging rights.

Fans, alumni, and even casual observers anticipate the 2023 game with an awkward fascination. The 2022 game? Strangely enough, it will be remembered for decades.

Thanks to ESPN, YouTube, and YouTube poster ZTL for the following broadcast of the 2022 game. As always, I own nothing and I do not profit in any way from this blog post.

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