ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan has seen its fair share of infamous losses at the Big House, but none may be more remembered than their epic meltdown against in-state rival Michigan State.
In what looked like a win, Michigan was up 23-21 with 10 seconds left, needing only a Blake O’Neill punt, with no Spartans back to receive, to secure its first win against the Spartans since 2012.
Snap. Catch. Kick. That’s it -- and the Wolverines win.
Or so they thought.
Then, well, the unthinkable happened. O’Neill, who had been great all day -- which included a 80 yard punt -- dropped the snap, tried picking the ball up, was smashed by MSU’s defenders, then unknowingly threw the ball into MSU’s Jalen Watts’ hands, who then rumbled down the sideline 38 yards for the winning score, giving No. 7 Michigan State an improbable 27-23 miracle win over a No. 12 Michigan and its stunned capacity crowd.
“Snap was below, right below the knees,” Harbaugh recalled. “He didn’t field it cleanly. Looked like he bobbled it again, kicked it a little bit. He looked like he was trying to kick it in traffic. You saw, isn’t that the way you saw it?
Michigan State (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) outgained Michigan 386-230. All Big Ten QB Connor Cook, threw for 328 yards passing, completing 18-of-39 passes and one touchdown. But despite his success, U-M’s defense still caused MSU to turnover on downs on a key fourth-and-19, giving U-M the ball with less than two minutes remaining.
“They played good enough to win,” Harbaugh said of his defense. “Played winning football, and fought hard. … Did so many good things. Both teams played extremely hard in the game. It was close, hard fought, it’s what you expect.”
U-M QB Jake Rudock finished 15-0f-25, with 168 yards passing, while De’Veon Smith led U-M with 46 yards on 19 carries. Michigan outrushed MSU 62-58.
How does Michigan (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) plan to move onto to its next play opponent? Said Harbaugh: “Steel in our spine, we got to move forward.”