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Spartan Football Playback: Michigan State vs. Washington (1969)

The 1969 season opened victorious for Michigan State in their only victory ever vs. Washington

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Opponent: Washington Huskies

Date: Sept. 20, 1969

Location: Spartan Stadium (East Lansing, Michigan)

Final Score: 27-11, Michigan State

All-time Matchup Record: Washington leads, 2-1

Two games into the 2022 campaign, there’s a lot to like with where Michigan State stands. There’s also a few concerns. All in all, it’s safe to say the team will be going into Seattle on Saturday with momentum and a good idea of how it want to execute against Washington. The Spartans will enter the game as underdogs despite being ranked in the top-11 of the country, which should give head coach Mel Tucker some bulletin board material.

This will be a pivotal game for MSU quarterback Payton Thorne, who’s had his fair share of inconsistencies dating back to the Peach Bowl versus Pittsburgh last season. As the run game is picking up where Kenneth Walker III left off, thanks to Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard, the Spartans may not find the same holes against a solid front seven for the Huskies. If the run game turns out to be flatter, Thorne will need to utilize his weapons and find the magic we saw in spurts last season.

Defensively, MSU will have its hands full against a Washington team led by Indiana transfer (and certified Spartan destroyer) Michael Penix Jr. The junior quarterback has played well in two games against Michigan State dating back to 2019, totaling 606 passing yards and five touchdowns. Expect a lot of action through the air once again.

The schools have only played three times in the all-time series, with the Huskies winning two of the three, including the most recent contest in the 1997 Aloha Bowl. This week’s playback takes us all the way back to the fall of 1969 in the Spartans’ lone victory in East Lansing.

1969 Game Recap

Surprisingly enough, there was footage found of the game, courtesy of On the Banks of the Red Cedar archives. The game tape features nostalgic clips into the back end of the Duffy Daugherty era, including Spartan Stadium’s new Tartan Turf at the time. It was also “Band Day.”

I encourage fans to dive into the footage to gain an appreciation of old school football and how far the game has come (especially offensively). The Spartan defense was the catalyst in the victory, capitalized by a pick-six in the third quarter, and MSU eventually earned a 27-11 win over Washington.