EAST LANSING, Mich. -- For the second straight year the annual battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy went to overtime and the University of Michigan football team came away with victory at Spartan Stadium Saturday (Oct. 1), defeating No. 11 Michigan State by a 34-31 margin as junior kicker Garrett Rivas (Tampa, Fla./Jesuit HS) connected on a 35-yard field in the first overtime. The Wolverines (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) claimed their fourth straight victory in the series against the Spartans (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) and won for the 32nd time in the trophy series. U-M holds a 32-19-2 advantage when the Paul Bunyan Trophy has been on the line and owns a 65-28-5 lead in the all-time series.
Hart's 218 yards rushing included the longest runs of his career -- 64 and 45 yards.
Defensively, the Wolverines forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by senior safety Willis Barringer (Toledo, Ohio/Scott HS) and a fumble recovery by senior inside linebacker David Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Ottawa Hills HS). Junior safety Brandent Englemon (Covington, Ky./Holmes HS) spearheaded the defensive effort with a career-best 13 tackles, while Harris and Barringer contributed six stops apiece. Junior outside linebacker Prescott Burgess (Warren, Ohio/Warren G. Harding HS) added seven stops.
Michigan scored on its opening possession of the game, marching a season-best 98 yards in 10 plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown pass from Henne to Avant on a fade to the right corner of the end zone. The Wolverines moved down the field in 3:40 and converted two third downs on the drive. Hart had a 45-yard career-long run a third-and-one play from the U-M 11-yard line and freshman Antonio Bass (Jackson, Mich./Jackson HS) set up a first-and-goal situation at the MSU two-yard line with a nine-yard quarterback draw. Henne completed five-of-six passes for 42 yards on the drive and extended his TD passing streak to a school-record 17 games.
The Wolverines scored 80 seconds after their opening touchdown and opened up a 14-0 lead as Henne completed a 43-yard post pass to freshman wide receiver Mario Manningham (Warren, Ohio/Warren G. Harding HS) on the second play of the drive. The two-play scoring drive covered 52 yards in 15 seconds, with Hart gaining nine yards on a first-down pitch play to the right side of the formation.
Michigan State answered on its third series of the game and trimmed U-M's lead to 14-7 at 2:44 of the first quarter. Quarterback Drew Stanton scored the Spartans' first touchdown on a second-and-goal play from the four-yard line on a keeper over the left tackle. The 10-play scoring drive covered 80 yards in 4:19, with Stanton completing a pair of key third-down passes that kept the drive alive. He tossed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Kyle Brown on third-and-three from the MSU 27-yard line and completed a 31-yard pass into Michigan territory on a third-and-12 play from the Spartans' 38-yard line.
The Spartans moved inside Wolverines territory on their second straight possession, but a key overturned play on a replay gave Michigan the ball at its 13-yard line as Barringer intercepted the ball at the goal line on an attempted pass by slot receiver Jerramy Scott. Barringer picked off the underthrown pass but was stripped off the ball by tight end Dwayne Holmes, and Burgess recovered the fumble following the apparent interception. The ruling on the field was an incomplete pass. Michigan burned a timeout and the replay officials overturned the play, giving Barringer his first career interception.
The Wolverine made good on the Spartans turnover and increased the lead to 21-7 as Henne tossed a five-yard pass to senior fullback Brian Thompson (Saginaw, Mich./Nouvel Catholic HS) on a third-and-goal play. The 11-play scoring drive covered 87 yards in 3:44. U-M converted a 28-yard field goal by Rivas, but MSU was penalized six yards for roughing the kicker and U-M received a first-and-goal opportunity at the five-yard line. Henne completed four-of-five passes for 70 yards, including a 23-yard pass to Avant and a 28-yard play to senior tight end Tyler Ecker (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Oak Ridge HS).
MSU tied the game, 21-21, with back-to-back touchdown drives following their initial turnover in the game. Running back Jehuu Caulcrick scored over right guard on a one-yard TD run at 5:53 and on the next series Stanton completed a wide receiver screen to Terry Love that covered 61 yards for the tying score at 3:30 of the second quarter.
Michigan grabbed the halftime lead, 24-21, as Rivas connected on a 20-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the second quarter. Henne moved the offense 69 yards in 13 plays, completing all seven passes for 54 yards. Hart rushed four times for 15 yards, including an 11-yard carry on a fourth-and-one play from MSU's 22-yard line.
The Wolverines turned the ball over on its opening series of the third quarter, but the defense held firm and forced the Spartans into a game-tying 26-yard field goal by kicker John Goss. Henne's pass intended for Manningham was intercepted by bandit SirDarean Adams at the 31-yard line and returned 14 yards to U-M's 17-yard line. The Wolverines did not allow a first down, and the key play came on a 10-yard holding penalty assessed to MSU on second down.
Michigan State had a chance to take its first lead of the game, but Goss pushed a 23-yard field goal attempt wide left at 13:38 of the fourth quarter. The Spartans started the series at their four-yard line and ended at the U-M six-yard line where Goss was forced into the field goal try.
Following Michigan State's missed field goal, the Wolverines moved 80 yards in five plays as Hart scored on a one-yard touchdown run at 11:29 of the fourth quarter. Hart opened the five-play scoring drive with a 64-yard career-long run on first-and-10 from the 20-yard line. Freshman tailback Kevin Grady (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids HS) spelled Hart for a play and rushed for five yards prior to runs of seven and two yards by Hart. MSU was penalized for pass interference on a second-and-goal play, providing U-M with a first-and-goal opportunity at the one-yard line. Hart scored on the first play.
The Spartans tied the game, 31-31, at 6:43 of the fourth quarter on a 74-yard fumble return by defensive tackle Domata Peko following a fumble by Henne on a third-and-11 play from MSU's 26-yard line. Henne was stripped by defensive lineman Clifton Ryan and Peko scooped up the ball and rambled down the right sideline for the tying score. The fumble was reviewed by the officials to see if Henne was attempting to pass, but the play remained a touchdown as called on the field in favor of the Spartans.
Michigan had a chance to take the lead with 48 seconds remaining, but Rivas' 27-yard field goal sailed wide right. The Wolverines started at their 40-yard line following a 32-yard kickoff return by fifth-year senior Grant Mason (Pontiac, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's HS). Michigan used its ground game on all 13 offensive plays during the series, moving the ball to MSU's 15-yard line, prior to the missed field goal. Hart rushed 11 times for 48 yards, Henne added a three-yard run on a fourth-down play, and Grady carried once for no gain.
For the second straight time in the series, Michigan and Michigan State forced overtime. The Spartans were unable to score during the first overtime as Goss pushed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right. Henne connected with Avant for six yards to start Michigan's overtime possession. On second-and-four at the 19-yard line, Hart rushed for one yard, and on third down with three to go on the 18-yard line, Rivas connected on a 35-yard field goal to give Michigan the victory.
Michigan returns to Ann Arbor for its 109th homecoming game against No. 18 Minnesota on Saturday (Oct. 8). The battle for Little Brown Jug will be televised regionally by ABC Sports starting at 1 p.m. EDT.
Contact: Dave Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423