Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry
The Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State University Spartans. The teams first played in 1898 and have met 113 times. Michigan leads the series with an overall record of 71–37–5. The winner of each year’s game receives the Paul Bunyan – Governor of Michigan Trophy, a four-foot wooden statue of a lumberjack.
About Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry in brief
The Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State University Spartans. The teams first played in 1898 and have met 113 times. Michigan leads the series with an overall record of 71–37–5. The winner of each year’s game receives the Paul Bunyan – Governor of Michigan Trophy, a four-foot wooden statue of a lumberjack. The first game in the rivalry was played in Ann Arbor on October 12, 1898, with Michigan defeating Michigan Agricultural College, 39–0. The trophy was first presented by Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams to commemorate Michigan State’s first year of football competition in the Big Ten Conference. In 1953, Michigan athletic director and former head coach Fritz Crisler reportedly refused to take the trophy if Michigan had won the game. The following year in 1954, the trophy was left on the field for half an hour after Michigan defeated the Spartans. In 1999, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr called it \”the ugliest trophy in college football\”, but added: \”When you don’t have him, you miss him.\’ Michigan has ever scored two touchdowns in place of a field goal, the first time a team scored in that fashion. After the 1898 shutout, Michigan’s team sent its freshman team against Michigan Agricultural for the next three years, scoring six out of a total of 12 to 12. The game in 1902 became known as the Point-a-Minute Fielding Game. The Wolverines defeated Michigan Agricultural by a score of 119–0 in 20 minutes and 18 minutes.
The second half of the game was held on only once in the second half, with the Wolverines scoring seven points in all and returning a kickoff the length of the field. The games were played on Michigan’s home field until 1958, when the teams began alternating home fields in 1958. The 1958 game ended in a 12–12 tie, and the favored Spartans were so embarrassed that they didn’t win, they originally refused to keep the trophy while Michigan also refused. Michigan State eventually relented and kept the trophy. The Spartans possessed the trophy for eight years, tied for the longest the trophy has remained at one school, and part of a streak of 11 of 12 years. From 2016 to 2019, Michigan won three out of four, but the Spartans won the 2020 game under new head coach Mel Tucker. The Michigan State team has won seven of eight games from 2008 to 2015, winning three of four games from 2016 to 2015. Michigan won 30 of 38 contests from 1970 to 2007, as Michigan won 14 of 14 games in the 1950s and 1960s. In the earliest years of the rivalry from 1898 to 1933, Michigan was the dominant program with a record of 23–2–3. The Spartans’ first victories were in 1913 and 1915 under head coach John Macklin. Michigan won four consecutive victories from 1934 to 1937 under coach Charlie Bachman. With the arrival of Fritz Criser as Michigan’s head coach in 1938, Michigan then won 12 consecutive games.