Michigan State pulls out miracle 27-23 win over rival Michigan as clock runs to zero.

Michigan State pulls out a miracle 27-23 win over rival Michigan on a fumbled punt snap as the clock ran out in The Big House and on the Wolverines.

There is a good chance Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio will come up with a good name for what happened at the end of the Michigan State - Michigan game. But when Jalen Watts-Jackson took the mishandled Wolverines punt with 10-seconds left in the game and scored from 38-yards out, the word being said more than any other was “Miracle” with both Spartans and Wolverines in disbelief of what just happened.

Much like a heavyweight title fight of years gone by, the return of Michigan football to prominence gave this meeting between the two teams a new feel and meaning.  While the college football world gave Michigan and new head coach Jim Harbaugh the win before the game was even played, the final play put a dagger in the hearts of the Michigan faithful and those wearing Green and White with the final laugh at a game that never saw the Spartans lead until the final play that will go down in Spartan lore.


The play came with a cost as  Watts-Jackson was injured on the play and taken straight to the hospital with a reported broken hips or dislocated hip.  But forever more, the Dearborn, Michigan native will be known for the miracle play that gave Spartan fans hope of continuing a magical season of winning ugly.

For all of four quarters, Michigan State would post solid offensive numbers against the much talked about Wolverines defense but would struggle when things mattered most putting points on the scoreboard.

Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines
Jan 1, 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH SCORE
#4 Michigan State Spartans (7-0) 0 7 7 13 27
#12 Michigan Wolverines (5-2) 0 10 10 3 23
Scoring Summary
13:13 (MICH) Sione Houman 2 yd run (Kenny Allen PAT Good) 0 7
7:06 (MSU) LJ Scott 11 yr run (Michael Geiger PAT Good) 7 7
5:34 (MICH) Kenny Allen 38 yd FG 7 10
9:17 (MICH) Houman 1 yd run (Allen PAT Good) 7 17
7:07 (MSU) Macgarrett Kings 30 yd Pass from Connor Cook (Geiger PAT Good) 14 17
2:06 (MICH) Allen 21 yd FG 14 20
9:25 (MICH) Allen 38 yd FG 14 23
8:56 (MSU) Scott 1 yd run (Geiger PAT Good) 21 23
0:00 (MSU) Jalen Watts-Jackson 38 yd fumble recovery 27 23

But all looked lost when Connor Cook’s pass to Macgarrett Kings went incomplete with 1:47 left in the game and the Wolverines only needing to run down the clock as far as they could. 

The Spartans defense looked to post one last stance giving their offense a glimmer of hope a trick play could go there way and win the game.  They did their job forcing the Wolverines to a 4th and 2 on the MSU 48 yard line.  After calling timeout, those wearing maize and blue saw the win in their grasp and let it be known.

But when punter Blake O’Neill was snapped the ball, he fumbled the snap, setting up another magical moment in Spartans football history under Mark Dantonio as Watts-Jackson took the ball and looked to score.  With the help of a few of his teammates, things continued to open up as the Spartans raced for the end zone as time expired.  With one final push the ball crossed the goal line and Michigan fans were left in disbelief of what just happened.

After the game both coaches gave their thoughts.

"Football is a crazy, crazy game," said Dantonio. "You can't hardly explain it."

For Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, he knows there is no way to really explain it other than it happened.

"A mistake was made," said Harbaugh.

The Spartans remained perfect moving to 7-0 on the season with the Wolverines falling to 5-2 on the year and still looking for answers.

The above video has a photo gallery of the miracle last play by Jalen Watts-Jackson.  All photos were shot by Scott Reed for Spartan Digest.  Thanks to the game secruity for walking in front of the final scoring shots.

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