(Saturday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Michigan State 26, (22) Michigan 20 (OT)
East Lansing, MI (Sports Network) - Larry Caper scored on a 23-yard run in overtime to give Michigan State a 26-20 victory over 22nd-ranked Michigan in a thriller at Spartan Stadium.
Tate Forcier led Michigan to a pair of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, hitting Roy Roundtree with a nine-yard scoring pass with just two seconds to play to force overtime.
The Wolverines got the ball to start the extra session, but Forcier had a pass into the end zone tipped and intercepted by Chris Rucker.
Michigan State lost nine yards on the first play of its overtime possession, but an 11-yard pass on second down set up 3rd-and-8. Needing only a field goal to win, Caper took a handoff around the right side and shed two tackles before breaking free for the winning score.
"First of all, it was a team effort -- linemen, quarterbacks, everybody. We faced a lot of adversity coming in and going into overtime," Caper said of his game-winning touchdown.
Caper also had a touchdown run in the first quarter for the Spartans (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten), who had lost three in a row by a combined 13 points. Michigan State beat its bitter state rival to keep the Paul Bunyan Trophy for the second straight year; its first winning streak against the Wolverines since capturing three straight meetings from 1965-67.
"It was a very, very exciting day. I'm very, very happy for our football team and our players. I think we came out resilient today. We tried to gain back a little respect, maybe. But whatever it was, we captured it and our guys played extremely hard and were prepared. We tried to focus on the next play. I think that was critical in this game. We knew we needed to stop the run and I think we were able to do that early on in the game," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said.
Forcier threw for 223 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception for Michigan (4-1, 1-1), which was playing away from the Big House for the first time this season. The freshman signal-caller was also Michigan's leading rusher with 27 yards on 13 attempts.
The Wolverines entered the game with the Big Ten's top rushing attack, averaging 240.2 yards per game. The Spartans held them to just 28 yards.
Michigan State, meanwhile, piled up 197 yards on the ground, led by 75 from quarterback Kirk Cousins. Caper finished with 39 yards on 13 carries and Glenn Winston chipped in 47 yards with a score on 24 attempts.
Cousins, who watched from the sideline as Keith Nichol led the Spartans in overtime, completed 15-of-21 passes for 152 yards with a pair of interceptions and a fumble.
"It was a good game. It was a dog fight. It was hard...They look up to this game just like we look up to this game. I think both teams did a good job," Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham said.
The Spartans held a 20-6 lead in the fourth quarter and appeared set to put the game away after a 41-yard scramble by Cousins gave his team a first down at the Michigan 38 with 6:55 to play. Soon after, though, Michigan State failed to convert 4th-and-3, and Michigan responded with a big play.
On 3rd-and-2 from the Michigan 40, Forcier completed a pass to Darryl Stonum, who caught the ball at the State 40 and found some room to race the rest of the way for a touchdown, pulling the Wolverines within seven with 4:03 remaining.
Michigan got the ball back with 2:53 left, but on its own eight-yard line with no timeouts. Forcier, with rain falling, guided the Wolverines to the Spartan 24-yard line. After missing a wide open Greg Mathews in the end zone and overthrowing Mathews on second down, Forcier ran for 13 yards to the 11-yard line.
Forcier scrambled for two yards, then threw up a prayer that luckily fell incomplete. He followed with a perfect throw to Roundtree in the back of the end zone with two seconds left and the extra point tied it at 20-20.
Michigan forced the first break of the game when Stevie Brown picked off a Cousins pass to give the Wolverines the ball at the Michigan State 14 just over a minute into the game. The Spartan defense, though, immediately showed it would be a major factor and forced a 36-yard field goal from Jason Olesnavage.
Cousins then directed a 17-play, 80-yard drive for a touchdown. The Spartans kept the ball for more than 10 minutes and overcame four penalties, including three 15-yard personal foul calls, and scored on fourth down from the one when Caper found the end zone.
Michigan picked up another field goal late in the second quarter when Olesnavage capped a 15-play, 67-yard march with a 42-yard field goal, but the Spartans answered with a 26-yard kick from Brett Swenson as time expired to head to the locker room with a 10-6 edge.
The Spartans were headed toward another score with their initial possession of the third quarter, but Cousins was intercepted by Donovan Warren inside the 10-yard line.
Michigan, though, gave the ball right back when punter Zoltan Mesko tried to run for a first down on 4th-and-1 from the 16 and came up short. The Wolverines, however, stiffened on defense and forced a 24-yard field goal from Swenson to make it 13-6 with 6:09 left in the third quarter.
After a Michigan punt, the Spartans drove 70 yards on eight plays for another touchdown. Winston capped the series on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 15-yard run for a 20-6 lead.
Cousins fumbled on Michigan State's next possession, giving the Wolverines a chance to get back into the game with the ball at the Spartan 46. Two plays later, though, Stonum fumbled after a reception inside the 15-yard line and the Spartans recovered.
The Spartans outgained the Wolverines 417-251 and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes...Michigan had minus-three rushing yards at halftime...Five of the last seven meetings between the schools have been decided by eight points or less...The Wolverines still lead the all-time series, 67-30-5...Michigan had won three straight at Spartan Stadium and last lost in East Lansing in 2001...Michigan visits Iowa next Saturday, while Michigan State travels to Illinois next week.
10/03 19:30:03 ET