đź”’Michigan vs. Michigan State football: A look back at the past 11 games

Michigan State is 7-4 in past 11 games against Michigan

The Michigan State Spartans celebrate after Jalen Watts-Jackson scored the winning touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines during the final seconds of college football game on Oct. 17, 2015 in Ann Arbor. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Michigan and Michigan State will face each other this weekend with both teams heading into the game unbeaten for the first time since 2010.

While it would be fascinating to run down all 113 meetings between the storied college football programs, let’s take a quick look back at only the past 11 dating back to 2010:

Oct. 9, 2010 in Ann Arbor -- Michigan State 34, Michigan 17

The Spartans and Wolverines were both undefeated heading into this game. Michigan was ranked No. 18 while Michigan State was ranked No. 17. The Spartans were looking for a third straight win against Michigan, something they had not done since 1967.

As the Associated Press game recap described it: "Michigan State made Denard Robinson look close to normal for the first time this year, helping the program that has often been overlooked in the mitten-shaped state dominate rival Michigan in a way it hasn’t in generations.

The 17th-ranked Spartans intercepted three of Robinson’s passes -- one in the end zone, one just outside of it -- and scored 24 unanswered points to break open a close game in a 34-17 rout of the 18th-ranked Wolverines on Saturday.”

Full game recap: Dantonio returns as Michigan State takes advantage of 3 Denard Robinson interceptions

Oct. 15, 2011 in East Lansing -- Michigan State 28, Michigan 14

The Spartans extended their winning streak against Michigan to four games with a 28-14 victory in East Lansing. It was the first time Michigan State won four straight against their in-state rival since 1962.

“For the rest of our life, we can walk the streets of Michigan,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said.

It was a devastating upset for the Wolverines who entered the game undefeated (6-0).

Full game recap: Keshawn Martin scores 2 TDs as Michigan State upsets rival Michigan

Oct. 20, 2012 in Ann Arbor -- Michigan 12, Michigan State 10

Michigan snapped a four-game losing streak against the Spartans in what can be described as a defensive-minded game in Ann Arbor. Or you could describe it as ugly, but a win is a win and Michigan needed one badly against their in-state rival.

The Spartans were stopped on third-and-goal with 6:14 left in the game and had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Dan Conroy, taking their final lead at 10-9.

The Wolverines scored four field goals to pull this one out, including a last-minute 38-yarder from Brendan Gibbons.

Full game recap: Michigan beats Michigan State, 12-10

Nov. 2, 2013 in East Lansing -- Michigan State 29, Michigan 6

Michigan State responded the next year. Connor Cook threw for a touchdown and ran for one, but this game belonged to Michigan State's defense, which at the time solidified its spot among the nation's best with an overwhelming performance on a rainy afternoon at Spartan Stadium.

This was Michigan State's most lopsided win in the series since 1967. They held Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing, the worst output in the Ann Arbor program's history. Michigan's previous low point for rushing was in 1962, when the Wolverines were held to minus-46 yards by Minnesota.

Full game recap: No. 24 Michigan State batters No. 23 Michigan 29-6

Oct. 25, 2014 in East Lansing -- Michigan State 35, Michigan 11

Michigan State picked up right where they left off a year before with the rivalry's first-ever back-to-back games in East Lansing. Cook threw for 227 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-22. Tony Lippett had three receptions and a 70-yard touchdown for the Spartans, who continued their domination in the series by beating the Wolverines for the sixth time in seven meetings.

Devin Gardner was intercepted twice and threw for 121 yards as Michigan was limited to 186 total yards en route to its fourth loss in five games.

Full game recap: Michigan State beats Michigan, 35-11

Oct. 17, 2015 in Ann Arbor -- Michigan State 27, Michigan 23

This is arguably the craziest finish to any game in this historic rivalry. When pretty much everyone thought the game was over and Michigan was going to win, the unthinkable happened.

After the snap was flubbed on a Michigan punt attempt and the ball went flying as the final seconds ticked down, Michigan State's Jalen Watts-Jackson grabbed it and raced 38 yards into the end zone for a touchdown on the final play of the game in Ann Arbor.

This was Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh's first game against the Spartans.

Full game recap: No. 7 Michigan State stuns No. 12 Michigan 27-23 on final play

"A mistake was made," Harbaugh said. "Mistakes were made. It's very unfortunate circumstances."

For Michigan State fans, it's worth watching again:

Oct. 29, 2016 in East Lansing -- Michigan 32, Michigan State 23

Harbaugh's Wolverines bounced back the next year and beat the Spartans in East Lansing.

Amara Darboh caught eight passes for a career-high 165 yards, and De'Veon Smith ran for two touchdowns to lift Michigan to a 32-23 win.

It was another low point in a 3-9 season for the Spartans, but many imagined this game would be much more lopsided. Still, it wasn't all that close until the very end.

Michigan will now go for its first back-to-back wins in the series since 2007.

Full game recap: Michigan stays unbeaten with 32-23 win at Michigan State

Oct. 7, 2017 in Ann Arbor -- Michigan State 14, Michigan 10

Michigan State came out on top in a low-scoring affair in Ann Arbor. It was the Spartans’ 8th win against Michigan in 10 games as they officially took control of the rivalry for the first time since the 1960s.

The Wolverines were again undefeated heading into this game, only to be upset by their “little brother.”

Full game recap: Michigan State beats No. 7 Michigan 14-10 for 8th time in 10 games

Oct. 20, 2018 in East Lansing -- Michigan 21, Michigan State 7

Michigan bounced back in 2018 with a win in East Lansings. ClickOnDetroit’s Derick Hutchinson recalled the intensity of the rivalry:

“The Michigan-Michigan State football rivalry had been teetering on the edge of genuine hatred for a decade, but this year’s matchup finally cemented it as one of the best in college football. ... For the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era, Michigan players and coaches didn’t try to pretend there isn’t true hatred in the rivalry. The animosity started before the game, peaked during the game and continued afterward. The result is a lot of hurt feelings, finger pointing and shouting among friends and coworkers around the state and, most importantly, the truly meaningful rivalry everyone craves.”

Full game recap: Michigan-Michigan State rivalry has turned into one of best in college football

Nov. 16, 2019 in Ann Arbor -- Michigan 44, Michigan State 10

The 2019 meeting was a rare blowout victory for the Wolverines. They dominated the Spartans in all aspects of the game, cruising to a 44-10 win.

Michigan State was sliding into this game on a five-game losing streak and Michigan made sure they didn’t reverse the trend. The focus after this game immediately was on Ohio State.

Read back: Can Michigan football actually beat No. 1 Ohio State, or is this another year of false hope?

Oct. 31, 2020 in Ann Arbor -- Michigan State 27, Michigan 24

The 2020 college football season was shortened by the pandemic. Michigan and Michigan State met early in the campaign -- it was just the second game on the schedule for both schools.

Rocky Lombardi threw for 323 yards, including 196 to Ricky White, and three touchdowns to help Michigan State stun the Wolverines 27-24 on Halloween. It was Mel Tucker’s debut as coach in the rivalry.

Full game recap: Lombardi helps Michigan State stun No. 13 Michigan 27-24


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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.