Today in Detroit Sports History – 2003 – Michigan Beats Michigan St. 27-20

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We all know by now that Michigan beat Michigan State two weeks ago 21-7. It was a dominant defensive performance by the Wolverines holding Michigan State to 16 yards rushing. In 2003, it was a similar result as Michigan marched towards a Big Ten title.

On November 1, 2003, #11 Michigan (7-2, 4-1) went into East Lansing to take on the #9 Michigan State Spartans (7-1, 4-0) in a pivotal Big Ten matchup. Michigan State was looking to enter the rough part of their schedule with a home win. The Wolverines had different plans.

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RB Chris Perry had a record-setting day, rushing 51 times for 219 yards and a score. The 51 attempts set a school record. John Navarre went 17 of 31 for 223 yards and 3 TDs along with an interception. Braylon Edwards added in 7 catches for 103 yards and 2 scores.

Michigan’s rush defense was the real star as they only allowed 36 yards on the ground. Michigan as a team, racked up 216 yards, including Perry’s 219.

Although Michigan had the game controlled most of the way, Michigan State had two big 2nd half highlights. After surrendering Edwards 1st touchdown, 14 seconds later, MSU QB Jeff Smoker (21-40, 254 yards) hit WR Agim Shabaj for the 73 yards and a score. Late in the game, down 27-13, MSU sacked Navarre causing a fumble that was returned 65 yards for a score. The game ended when Michigan intercepted Smoker on a Hail Mary as time expired.

Following the victory, Michigan moved to #5 in the polls and went on to beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten. They eventually lost to #1 USC in the Rose Bowl. Michigan State dropped to #14 and they ended up losing 3 of their final 4 games. 2003, another great chapter in the history of the Michigan/Michigan State football rivalry.


Bonus Content:

On October 30, 1981, point guard Isiah Thomas made his debut for the Detroit Pistons. Drafted number two overall by the Pistons in the 1981 NBA Draft, Thomas went on to be a 12-time All-Star for our hometown team.

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