With Mark Dantonio’s program struggling so mightily this season, it’s fair to wonder if this will be his final season at the helm in East Lansing. If it is, that would make this weekend’s game the tiebreaker between Dantonio and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who have faced each other four times and split, 2-2.
Michigan leads the overall series history 70-36-5 and own a one-game winning streak, topping Michigan State 21-7 last season.
It’s always been a rivalry of runs. From 1996 to 2007, Michigan won 10 out of 12 games. From 2008 to 2017, Michigan State won 10 out of 12 meetings. With the Spartans appearing to be at the start of the downturn, it’s a big opportunity for Michigan to regain control of the rivalry.
The road team has won each of the last four contests.
Here’s a look at the last four meetings between the two programs, all of which came with Harbaugh and Dantonio in charge:
2018: Michigan 21, Michigan State 7 in East Lansing
No. 6 Michigan squared off with No. 24 MSU last season and saw the Wolverines take care of business with relative ease. Michigan dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 41 minutes.
The bigger story was the U-M defense, which held MSU to just 94 total yards. Only 15 of those came on the ground. MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke completed 5-of-25 passes for 66 yards.
Shea Patterson threw for two touchdowns and Karan Higdon ran for 144 yards.
2017: Michigan State 14, Michigan 10 in Ann Arbor
Playing in a monsoon, this game couldn’t have been much uglier for Michigan. The Wolverines turned the ball over five times, three of those interceptions by John O’Korn. Both fumbles proved to be extremely costly as well.
Despite the poor play, Michigan had a chance to win the game on its final drive, but a huge drop by Eddie McDoom doomed the Wolverines.
2016: Michigan 32, Michigan State 23 in East Lansing
This game was nowhere near as close as the final score indicates. Michigan cruised in this one and held a 30-10 lead until late in the fourth quarter when MSU scored two touchdowns, including one with one second left, that saw Jabrill Peppers return the failed two-point conversion for a safety. Michigan entered the game No. 2 in the country, while MSU went on to finish 3-9.
Amara Darboh had eight catches for 165 yards and U-M ran for 192 yards as a team.
2015: Michigan State 27, Michigan 23 in Ann Arbor
The game we all remember and never want to speak of.
No. 7 MSU beat No. 12 Michigan on the last play of the game, a botched punt. It was the only turnover of the game.
Connor Cook threw for 328 yards and a touchdown, while Jake Rudock tallied 168 yards through the air.