ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged, albeit reluctantly, that the countdown clocks for Michigan State and Ohio State games have been removed from Schembechler Hall.
“Winning the next game is the goal,” Harbaugh explained. “That’s the most important thing. There’s nothing more important than that.”
Michigan State’s football program, meanwhile, posted a picture on Twitter of its countdown clock Monday afternoon to help kick off a week of hype for a game that people beyond the state will probably pay attention to on Saturday.
The seventh-ranked Spartans (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) are coming to the Big House to play the surging, 12th-ranked Wolverines (5-1, 2-0) and the showdown holds more than provincial interest because both teams are ranked and potentially have a lot at stake this season.
Harbaugh has led a dramatic turnaround in his first year, matching last season’s total number of wins under Brady Hoke with a five-game winning streak since opening with a setback at Utah. Mark Dantonio is 6-2 against Michigan, doing and saying all the right things to help Michigan State have its best stretch in the series in more than a half-century.
Michigan has historically dominated the series that dates to 1898, winning nearly two-thirds of the matchups.
The Spartans have flipped the script lately with their best stretch in the series in more than a half-century.
Here’s a look back at some memorable Michigan-Michigan State games:
1990: The top-ranked Wolverines were stunned and sour after Desmond Howard was tripped - or defended - by Eddie Brown as he caught and dropped a 2-point conversion, allowing unraked Michigan State to hold on for a 28-27 win.
1995: Unranked and Nick Saban-led Michigan State capped a comeback with an 11-play, 88-yard drive that ended with Tony Banks’ 25-yard pass to Nigea Carter with 1:24 left for a 28-25 win to beat the seventh-ranked Wolverines.
1999: No. 11 Michigan State held on to beat No. 3 Michigan 34-31. The Spartans took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter and won by just three after Tom Brady, who was alternating with Drew Henson, threw two TD passes over the last eight-plus minutes.
2001: T.J. Duckett caught a game-winning, 2-yard touchdown lob from Jeff Smoker with a still-disputed second left in what is infamously remembered at the “Clock Game,” to give the unranked Spartans a 26-24 upset against No. 6 Michigan.
2003: No. 11 Michigan beat No. 9 Michigan State 27-20 thanks to Chris Perry’s 219 yards rushing and a score on 51 carries and John Navarre’s third TD pass that gave the Wolverines a 17-point lead in the fourth.
2004: Braylon Edwards caught a third TD in triple overtime to lift the 12h-ranked Wolverines to a 45-37 win over unranked Michigan State after trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
2007: Michigan’s slide in the series started after its 15th-ranked team beat the unranked Spartans 28-24. “Sometimes, you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball - let them get the lead. And, then you come back,” former running back Mike Hart said after helping the Wolverines overcame a 10-point deficit midway through the fourth. Dantonio, who was in his first year, later lashed out and said, “pride comes before the fall.”
2012: The 23rd-ranked Wolverines beat unranked Michigan State 12-10 - their only win in a seven-year stretch - after Brendan Gibbons kicked a 38-yard field goal with 5 seconds left and limiting Le’Veon Bell to 68 yards rushing on 26 carries.
AP college football website: https://collegefootball.ap.org
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