The fourth installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State takes us back just three years, to 2015. After a rough first game, by the middle of the season the Michigan momentum train was running full steam, with the Wolverines having recording three consecutive shutout victories. The stage was set for a legendary confrontation between Wolverines and Spartans.
Both sides fought with all their might that day, which is nothing new for this rivalry. 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.
No video will be provided for this game. The memories are painful enough.
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