Welcome to Men on Football…
I’ve got Paul Rochon and Dylan Bair to give their opinions on 10 recent UofM/MSU football games… from a male’s point of view.
Editor’s disclaimer: Paul is, and I quote, the “best couch General Manager alive. More Michigan than Bo. Never wrong, often misunderstood.”
Second editor’s disclaimer: Dylan is, again I quote from Paul, “Pretentious Spartan grad that does way more for the community than you ever will. Thinks he knows things, really doesn’t. More SJW than liberal politicians even pretend to be with enough white guilt to drown a Starbucks. Not that he’d ever support big coffee and their despicable practices.”
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5. November 3, 2001
We begin with the No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (6-1, 4-0 in BigTen) visiting Michigan State (4-2, 2-2 BigTen). A competitive evenly-fought battle saw Michigan leading 17-14 at halftime and a 17-17 tie after three quarters. Late in the fourth quarter, with Michigan leading 24-20, MSU was given one last chance with just over two minutes to play. We cut to the finish…
Dylan: “MSU robbed Michigan of a win, but still played decent. It was the final cry of the (Nick) Saban players and would be a long lost memory in the beatdowns and heartbreaks that would start when (Lloyd) Carr got into his twilight Michigan years.”
Paul: “Curse you ‘Spartan Bob’! A would-be classic was marred by numerous officiating blunders and cringe-worthy mistakes. The eternal second will never be forgotten but the circus-like lead-up to that final play was just as impactful and confusing. This game feels like it should be stricken from the record as much as it feels like a classic. If you’ll excuse me… I need to shower these filthy memories off.”
4. November 2, 2002
Following the miracle comeback the year before, Michigan State (3-5, 1-3 BigTen) traveled to the Big House to face No. 15 Michigan (6-2, 3-1 BigTen), and after the Spartans got an early field goal to take a 3-0 lead, it was ALL Michigan after that.
Here’s part of the ridiculous beatdown.
Dylan: “True-to-form beating and retribution for a sham of a final play (the year before). Nothing more than the talent gap being stupidly obvious and the writing finally being on the wall for the post-(Nick) Saban era.”
Paul: “All of the clock manipulation in the world couldn’t alleviate the pain of that beatdown. An early MSU field goal to go up 3-0 was soon forgotten in the unstoppable swarm of Maize and Blue that would follow a 49-3 disaster. The Spartans were beaten so badly, then head coach Bobby Williams couldn’t even figure out if he had a hold of his team. Michigan head coach, Lloyd Carr didn’t mind the soft opposition as he publically lobbied for the Spartans to retain Williams.”
3. October 30, 2004
Michigan State (4-3, 3-1 BigTen) travels to Michigan (7-1, 5-0 BigTen) with an improved offense with Drew Stanton under center, taking on a very talented Michigan team with both Braylon Edwards and Mike Hart. This one would end up in the history books and for good reason.
Dylan: “2004 was the game of all games. The perfect analog for the rivalry itself. MSU surprises, starts out ahead, something tragic occurs to derail their efforts. And then they’re left scrambling while the talent and prowess of the Michigan program rips the proverbial ball away from them in the end zone and they are left helpless to the Michigan menace again stomping out little brother.”
Paul: “My personal favorite football game I’ve ever watched. Both an all-time classic on the field and in my heart, it will likely never be topped. Drew Stanton looked unstoppable until he left with an injury. The Michigan offense was stagnant until Chad Henne and Mike Hart cemented the beginnings of their legendary Michigan careers by taking over. The incredible fourth-quarter comeback paled in comparison to the tension and excitement of the three overtimes to follow. Each play felt like life and death. I forgot to breathe a handful of times. And then it was over, the Michigan comeback complete after a glorious defensive stand in the third and final overtime. The game was everything great about being a sports fan at its most extreme.”
2. October 1, 2005
In a rare turn of events, it was unranked Michigan (2-2, 0-1 BigTen) traveling to face the 11th-ranked Spartans (4-0, 1-0 BigTen). And this game, like the year before, would need extra time.
Dylan: “2005 was a great game of two very similarly talented teams and John L’s (Smith) redemption game that saw a Domata Peko fumble touchdown run, one of my favorite rivalry moments. It was really Chad Henne’s coming out party and he played his tail off for a tight victory against a soon-to-be spiraling Spartan team.”
Paul: “MSU was favored for the first time in decades with Michigan coming off losses to Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Unranked and in danger of the season slipping away, Michigan stayed the course. A tightly contested game throughout had more Henne and Hart magic with the latter returning from an early-season injury to polish off his second consecutive 200-yard game against the Spartans. Field goal mishaps plagued both teams and it was fittingly a Michigan boot that won it in overtime after a Spartan miss. It didn’t have the same theatrics as the previous year, but it was certainly another great game in the storied rivalry.”
1. November 3, 2007
No. 12 Michigan (7-2, 5-0 BigTen) traveled to East Lansing to face Michigan State (5-4, 1-4 BigTen) in what would be the final year for Mike Hart, and he definitely wanted to leave a memorable mark on the Wolverine and Spartan faithful.
Dylan: “2007 was the ‘Little Brother’ game and the start of something beautiful for MSU. They were thoroughly outplayed and outclassed but gained an advantage that simply sustained the entire program for years. Arguably this loss was the most monumental in Spartan history and was what was needed for a program course correction.”
Paul: “‘Sometimes, you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball, let them get the lead, and then you come back’ -Mike Hart. Yeah, when you’re polishing off your career with a 4-0 record against your in-state rival, you can run your mouth a bit. While Hart also ran all over the field, as usual, it was Mario Manningham that was virtually uncoverable and the ultimate difference maker in another Michigan comeback win over MSU. A 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in East Lansing was just Big Brother giving himself a little challenge.”
Stay tuned for PART TWO…