Monday huddle: U-M, MSU meeting with identical 7-0 records looks like it will go from an improbable dream to reality

Wolverines, Spartans both top 10 teams in polls

Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne (10) celebrates a touchdown with Luke Campbell (62) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger) (Adam Hunger, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.

Wolverines, Spartans headed toward a top-10 showdown.

Michigan's Blake Corum (2) carries the ball against Nebraska's Nick Henrich (42) in the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

As the weeks have progressed throughout this college football season, and fans of both Michigan and Michigan State have rubbed their eyes in amazement over how their teams have exceeded what were low expectations to start the year, there have been murmurs and the pondering of one question: What if both teams were 7-0 when they met on Oct. 30 in East Lansing?

Before this past weekend, that question was met with some cynical laughter or thoughts of “there’s a long way to go for that to happen.”

Well, all of a sudden, nobody’s laughing.

After each recorded road wins over the weekend -- U-M a 32-29 win at Nebraska and MSU a 31-13 win at Rutgers -- there’s not much separating the unbeaten showdown now.

U-M has a bye week this week, so the only thing potentially stopping the Wolverines from 7-0 is a Oct. 23 date against lowly Northwestern.

MSU has its bye week the week before the U-M game, so the only hurdle the Spartans need to clear to reach 7-0 is a game at reeling Indiana on Saturday.

Indiana star quarterback Michael Penix likely won’t play due to a separated AC joint in his throwing shoulder suffered on Oct. 2 against Penn State.

The last time U-M and MSU played in October when both were unbeaten was in 1999 -- while the last time the teams met when both were ranked in the top 10 was in 1964.

Another moral victory, but heartbreaking loss for the Lions.

Just when it appeared as if an opponent had done the unthinkable, which is find ways to lose more creative than the Lions do, the Lions had their hearts ripped out again.

Down 16-6 late in the fourth quarter, the Lions improbably rallied for a 17-16 lead after taking advantage of a Minnesota fumble deep in Vikings’ territory as Minnesota was attempting to run down the clock.

The Lions scored a touchdown and then made head coach Dan Campbell’s gamble pay off when they successfully converted a 2-point conversion to take a lead with 37 seconds left.

But there was no way it was going to end this happily, right Lions fans?

Of course not.

Sure enough, Minnesota drove the field and won the game on a 54-yard field goal as time expired.

The Lions are still one of two winless teams in the NFL.

Ferris State-Grand Valley State are set for a battle of the unbeatens.

While many are counting down the days until Michigan and Michigan State hook up in East Lansing, there is another noteworthy in-state showdown on Saturday.

Ferris State and Grand Valley State are two of the country’s top-ranked teams in Division II, and they’ll meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at Grand Valley State in a game that’s dubbed the “Anchor-Bone Classic.”

Both teams enter with 5-0 records.

Ferris State enters ranked No. 2 in the country and will have the advantage of having two weeks to prepare since the Bulldogs just had a bye week, while Grand Valley State is No. 6. in the country.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.