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Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry

Sport(s)Football
Total meetings60; Overall series 105
Series recordMichigan leads 35-23-2; Michigan leads overall series 68-32-5
First meetingOctober 12, 1898
Michigan 39, Michigan State 0
Last meetingOctober 20, 2012
Michigan 12, Michigan State 10
Next meetingOctober 20, 2013 in East Lansing
Largest winMichigan, 49-3 (2002); Michigan, 119-0 (1902) overall
Longest win streakMichigan, 8 (1970–1977); Michigan, 14 (1916-1929) overall
Current win streakMichigan, 1 (2012)
TrophyPaul Bunyan–Governor of Michigan Trophy

The Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines football team of the University of Michigan and Michigan State Spartans football team of Michigan State University. The Paul Bunyan–Governor of Michigan Trophy is the trophy awarded to the winner of the game. The winner retains possession of the trophy until the next year's game. The trophy is currently held by the University of Michigan.

The naming of the trophy after the mythical giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan reflects Michigan's history as a major lumber-producing state. The trophy was first presented in 1953 (Michigan State's first year as a full Big Ten member) by then-governor G. Mennen Williams, and is a four-foot-high wooden statue on a five-foot-high base.

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University are natural in-state rivals who compete for resources and recruits. Their rivalry extends to all forms of achievement, including athletics. Some of their other athletic rivalries include a hockey rivalry and a basketball rivalry. Even though Michigan State did not join the Big Ten Conference until 1950, the two schools have played each other in football annually since 1910, and they first played each other in 1898.[1]

Series historyEdit

The overall series record for the rivalry is 68–32–5 for Michigan. The series record for the Paul Bunyan Trophy is 35–23–2 for Michigan as the trophy was not added to the rivalry game until Michigan State became a full member of the Big Ten in 1953, at which point Michigan already held a 33–9–3 edge. A home-and-home series did not begin until the 1958 season. Through the 1957 season, the game was played in Ann Arbor 44 times and played in East Lansing only 6 times.[2] At the start of the trophy game series, Michigan State began a nearly two decade long period of dominance. From 1950 to 1969, MSU went 14–4–2 against the Wolverines. After the hiring of Bo Schembechler in 1969, Michigan dominated the series for the next four decades going 30–8 from 1970 to 2007. Michigan holds the longest winning streak at eight (1970–77) and Michigan State held a winning streak of four (2008–11) in the Paul Bunyan Trophy series history.

Notable Trophy gamesEdit

File:Paul-bunyan-at-msu.jpg

1990Edit

"Number One vs. No One" was the tag line spouted by the Michigan faithful. The 1990 game was held in Ann Arbor and Michigan came into the game ranked #1 in the country. With only a few seconds remaining Michigan scored a TD making the score 28-27 MSU. Michigan coach Gary Moeller elected to line up for a two point conversion and go for the win. Desmond Howard lined for a pass and was defended by Spartan Eddie Brown. While going out for the pass Desmond stumbled, appeared to have caught the ball for a moment before dropping it as he fell to the turf. It was a controversial play since Howard was apparently interfered with by Brown on the play, but no penalty was called. The game ended with a Spartan 28-27 victory. After the game, the officials called Michigan coach Gary Moeller to apologize for the missed call.[3]

2001Edit

The 2001 game, also known as Clockgate, (or the Friendly Finger game) featured an unranked Michigan State squad hosting the 6th ranked Wolverines. With under three minutes remaining the Spartans received the ball at midfield facing a 24-20 deficit. Michigan State failed a 4th down conversion, but a Michigan facemask penalty resulted in 15 yards and an automatic first down. Two plays later the Wolverines received a penalty for 12 men on the field. Seventeen seconds remained when Michigan State quarterback Jeff Smoker attempted to scramble for a touchdown but was stopped at the one yard line. The Spartans rushed to the line and spiked the ball with one second left on the clock. On the next play Smoker threw a touchdown pass to T.J. Duckett to give the Spartans a 26-24 victory. Controversy in the game came from Smoker's spike. Michigan claimed the clock should have run out, with UM radio broadcaster Frank Beckmann stating, "This game was stolen from the Michigan Wolverines." However, following review from Big Ten, the call on the field was ruled correct and officials reported that time was still on the clock at the time of the spike. Years after the game, Big Ten officials told The Detroit News that, upon further review, the clock operator acted appropriately. Three years following the game, Dave Parry, the conference's coordinator of football officials, said, "that play, as much as we've put that under a high-powered microscope, was correct. We could not prove that timer wrong."[4]

2004Edit

The 2004 game ended with Michigan defeating Michigan State 45–37 in the first triple overtime game at Michigan Stadium.[5] Michigan was down 27–10 with 8:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines managed to tie the game at 27 by the end of the fourth quarter. Michigan proceeded to dispatch Michigan State in three overtimes. Braylon Edwards led the Wolverines in receiving with 11 receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns, while Mike Hart carried the ball 33 times for 224 yards.[6]

2005Edit

In 2005, the game once again went into overtime. Again, Michigan emerged victorious, winning 34–31.[7] Michigan twice held leads of 14 points, but Michigan State was able to tie the game at 31 before heading into overtime. Michigan State had the first possession of overtime, but Michigan State kicker John Goss's field goal attempt was wide right. Afterward, Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas made a 35-yard field goal to win the game. In his second game playing against the Spartans, Mike Hart rushed for over 200 yards, gaining 218 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries.

File:PaulBunyanTrophy.jpg

2007Edit

The 2007 game marked Michigan's sixth straight win over Michigan State. The Wolverines once again narrowly won with a comeback in the fourth quarter, winning 28–24.[8] Michigan quarterback Chad Henne led two touchdown drives in the final 7:35 of the fourth quarter of the game, completing touchdown passes to Greg Mathews and Mario Manningham, to lead the Wolverines back from a 24–14 deficit. Henne finished the game with 18 completions for 211 yards and four touchdowns, while Mario Manningham had eight receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns.[9] After the game, Michigan running back Mike Hart called Michigan State Michigan's "little brother." "I was just laughing,” Hart said of Michigan State taking the lead. “I thought it was funny. They got excited. Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball, and you let him get the lead, and then you come back and take it back." Mark Dantonio later responded to Hart's comment stating "I find a lot of the things they do amusing. They need to check themselves sometimes. But just remember, pride comes before the fall... This game is an important game. So they want to mock us all they want to mock us, I'm telling them: it's not over. So they can print that crap all they want all over their locker room. It's not over. It'll never be over here. It's just starting... I'm going to be a coach here for a long time. It's not over. It's just starting.[10] " (After that game, the Spartans began a winning streak that lasted for four straight wins over the Wolverines. This streak continued until the October 20th, 2012 game, which Michigan won.)

2008Edit

The game on October 25, 2008, in Ann Arbor, was the first UM–MSU game for new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez who, like his four immediate predecessors, lost his first meeting with MSU. Early in the game, Michigan scored on a pass to running back Brandon Minor, who was only able to get one foot on a pylon. The pass was initially called incomplete, but the play was reviewed and incorrectly ruled a touchdown. The commissioner of the Big Ten later acknowledged that the call was wrong.[11] The two teams traded touchdowns for most of the game until MSU dominated the fourth quarter. The Spartans won the game, 35–21.[12]

2009Edit

The next contest took place on October 3, 2009, in East Lansing. The undefeated, 25th-ranked, Wolverines were expected to defeat the 1–3 Spartans, but Michigan State took the lead in the first quarter and held it for much of the game, extending the lead to 20–6 with a touchdown 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. However, Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier rallied to tie it up 20–20 with a touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree with two seconds remaining. In overtime, Michigan State cornerback Chris L. Rucker intercepted a tipped pass from Tate Forcier. On MSU's possession, running back Larry Caper scored on a 24-yard touchdown run. It marked the first time Michigan State had won in back-to-back years since winning three straight from 1965 to 1967.[13]

2010Edit

The next game took place in Ann Arbor on October 9, 2010. At one point in the second quarter Michigan led the Spartans 10–7, but the Spartans took the lead for good shortly after and led 17–10 at the half. In the third quarter, the Spartans went up 31–10 until the early fourth quarter when Michigan scored their final touchdown. The 34-17 win marked the third Spartan victory over UM in a row, including two at Ann Arbor; this was the first time since 1965–1967 that the Spartans had won three consecutive contests against their in-state rival. This game was the first since MSU's victory at home against Notre Dame earlier in the season that coach Mark Dantonio was able to coach the entire game due to a heart attack suffered soon after the ND game. Many MSU players and staff cited his return as a major factor in defeating UM so decisively.[14]

2011Edit

On a windy day in East Lansing, Denard Robinson led the Wolverines to a touchdown on the opening drive. Michigan State answered back with an Edwin Baker touchdown. After two quarters, they were tied 7-7. Two Kirk Cousins passing touchdowns put the Spartans ahead for good. The Spartans made it 21-14 before Isaiah Lewis returned a Denard Robinson interception for a touchdown to give a final score of 28-14 for Michigan State. Michigan State won for the fourth straight year. The Spartans won by double digits in three of the four victories. Brady Hoke's first game in this rivalry as Michigan's head coach.

2012Edit

On October 20, 2012, the Michigan Wolverines defeated the Spartans in the Big House 12-10 to win back the Paul Bunyan Trophy. The score was 6-0 UM at the end of the first half from two field goals. MSU quickly scored a touchdown in their first possession of the second half to go up 7-6. Michigan kicked a third field goal in the mid third quarter to go up 9-7. It appeared that Michigan had MSU stopped towards the end of the fourth by forcing them into a fourth and 9 on their own 30, however the Spartans ran a fake punt and advanced the ball almost to midfield on their way to scoring three more points to go up 10-9. Michigan got the ball back and drove all the way into MSU territory only to be stopped and punt the ball away with 4 minutes left. The Michigan defense held MSU to a three-and-out and they got the ball back at their own 39 with 2:11 left. UM advanced the ball all the way to MSU's 25 yard line and with 9 seconds left they spiked the ball. Brendan Gibbons lined up to kick the game winning field goal and was iced by MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. Gibbons lined back up and split the uprights to win the game for Michigan, 12-10. Michigan won without ever crossing the goal line. After the game, the students rushed the field in celebration of this milestone win. This was the 900th all-time win for the Wolverines, making them the first program to reach this level in the history of college football.

Game resultsEdit

Year Michigan Michigan State Location

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Year Michigan Michigan State Location

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Year Michigan Michigan State Location

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Current series: Michigan leads, 35-23-2[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Paul Bunyan Trophy at Wikimedia Commons

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