First Impressions: Michigan State 26 Michigan 24

WTKA's Steve Clarke gives his inital thoughts after Saturday's stunning ending

This heated rivalry is now scorching. Michigan fans remember the controversial finish in 1990 when Eddie Brown tripped up Desmond Howard, now we have the clock game.

The debate over whether or not Michigan State's last play should have been run, is brief and without arguement: It shouldn't. The clock had to have been stopped between the snap of the ball and when MSU quarterback Jeff Smoker spiked the football. I'm sure Washington State wished they had that kind of clock in the Rose Bowl, but Michigan can't blame the loss on "homerism".

The Wolverines should have ended the game earlier. Michigan State had just turned the ball over on downs only to be given new life when the Wolverines were flagged for a personal foul. It's ironic to note that the defensive back involved needed assistance off the field on the previous play. Normally, that would mean he would have to sit out, but because it was fourth down and the Spartans had four wide-outs, Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr wisely called a time-out. That allowed the player to come back for the next play.

If Michigan fans are looking for a scapegoat, you can't point just to him. There was a penalty for having 12 men on the field during that final drive, Michigan State's first two touchdowns came after pass interference calls on third and long, the offense struggled in the 2nd half, and there was TJ Duckett. His 211 yard rushing performance is the second most allowed by a Michigan defense (Northwestern's Damien Anderson, 268, last season).

The Wolverines can still win the Big 10 and play a Top 5 opponent in a Bowl game, but they must win out. I picked Michigan to win this game, Saturday, because they have moxy. I still think they do, but now they've added hostility.

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