It’s that time of the year again. When a bronze statue is watched tirelessly and the colors maize and blue have never been so repulsive to some. When the state of Michigan becomes a divided front, between Wolverines and Spartans. It’s time for the University of Michigan versus Michigan State football game.
It’s an age old rivalry and perhaps one of the most renowned rivalries in the Big Ten. However, since MSU head coach Mark Dantonio’s reign, one has to wonder if competition still stands, as U of M has only won four games out of the 12 years that Dantonio has coached the Spartans. With eight dubs under his belt, here are Dantonio’s top five wins against Michigan.
Starting the rankings from good to best, is Dantonio’s first win against Michigan and in the Big House. During his second season coaching, in 2008, the Spartans defeated the Wolverines 35-21. This was a game of offensive grind as both teams scored back to back up to the third quarter. However, MSU bested Michigan in the fourth on two scoring drives led by then quarterback, Brian Hoyer.
Coming in at number four on the countdown is the 2011 match up in East Lansing. What marks the significance of this game is that, at the time, MSU was ranked 23 in the AP Poll while Michigan was ranked far ahead at 11, yet the Spartans still came out on top, 28-14. Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins lit the field up in the third quarter with two touchdown passes to wide receiver Keshawn Martin, giving the team a huge lead and ultimately a W.
In the middle of the countdown is MSU’s 34-17 point win in 2010. With U of M being ranked at 18 and MSU at 17, this game was hyped to the fullest and solely about who wants it more. Coming off a six-week-win streak, running back Le’Veon Bell had the biggest play of the game with a 41-yard-run touchdown, putting the Spartans up late in the second, and helping keep the Paul Bunyan trophy in East Lansing.
Nearing the end of the ranking at number two is the absolute butt kicking that took place in 2013. MSU crushed U of M, 29-6, holding the Wolverines to only be able to score two field goals. The 2013 season was one of Dantonio’s best, as the team ended that year with a 13-1 overall record and a 3rd place ranking in the AP Poll. This was the year that MSU blew past every team in the Big Ten and made it all the way to the Rose Bowl, to beat Stanford University.
Dantonio’s greatest win against Michigan can be recalled by five words, “there’s trouble with the snap.” On October 17th 2015, history was made in Ann Arbor. Just when all hope of winning was lost and most of everyone who attended the game was leaving the stadium, MSU made an incredible comeback. With ten seconds left in the game, Michigan’s punter went for an ordinary punt but instead fumbled the snap. MSU safety Jalen Watts-Jackson seized the opportunity and returned it for a 38-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 27-23 with no time left on the clock. This winning play will not only be talked about in debates of Michigan versus Michigan State, but perhaps it will even go down in college football history.