The third installment of this year’s look back at the Michigan-Michigan State series takes us to 2013. Brady Hoke was in his second year at the helm of the Michigan football program, and in his first year, the Wolverines had beaten two of their three main rivals. But Michigan State remained a tricky puzzle to solve.
Denard Robinson was in his final season as Michigan’s quarterback, but this game was about defense. With Michigan State’s corners playing coverage so tight that an interference penalty could be called on almost any pass play; the Wolverines’ receivers had a brutal time getting open. But this time, Greg Mattison coached Michigan’s defense, so the Wolverines had their own defensive mastermind matching wits with Michigan State, resulting in a classic defensive struggle.
Still, the Wolverines showed flashes. Fitzgerald Toussaint had a less-than-spectacular day running the ball, but he exploded for one 38-yard gain deep into Spartan territory. And then there was Mister Clutch himself, Drew Dileo, who caught four passes for 92 yards, none more important than his catch late in the game that took the ball down to the Michigan State 22-yard line, setting up a 38-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons with nine seconds left, which gave Michigan the 12-10 win in a game that certainly wasn’t pretty, but was a much-needed win against Michigan State, which had its with Michigan for the four years preceding that game. At the time, many people thought this meant that Michigan was on its way back. The ensuing seasons proved them wrong. That win over Michigan State was the last time Michigan would look that good that late in the season under Hoke.
The game also featured some interesting subplots. Michigan left offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and Michigan State defensive end William Gholston had waged a fierce personal battle for several years, one of the nastiest matchups in the long history of this series. Gholston had been tormenting Lewan for the past two years, but in 2012, Lewan had the last laugh. The game also marked the 900th win in the history of Michigan football. Here’s hoping the Wolverines reach 1,000 wins quickly under Jim Harbaugh!
Thanks to the Big Ten Network and Youtube poster Michigan Football Highlights for the following highlight film. As always, I own nothing, the following video clip is shared strictly for entertainment.