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Michigan State holds off Michigan in overtime

Published 11:48am Sunday, October 4, 2009

EAST LANSING – The University of Michigan football team completed a 14-point comeback to force overtime on Saturday afternoon, but an interception and subsequent Spartan touchdown in overtime led to a 26-20 Michigan State victory in Spartan Stadium.

MSU maintains possession of the Paul Bunyan Trophy for consecutive seasons for the first time since 1967.

U-M opened the overtime session and efficiently earned a first down, but a pass break up in the end zone led to an interception, giving the Spartans a shot at the victory.

The Spartans’ first snap was fumbled and dropped them back nine yards to the 34 for second and 19, but after a short pass play to make it third and eight, Larry Caper ran 23 yards to give MSU the win.

The day started out well for Michigan as linebacker Stevie Brown gave the Wolverines an early scoring chance with an interception on the game’s third play. He picked off a fluttering pass from Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins that was partially tipped by defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen and returned the ball 18 yards to the MSU 14-yard line.

The Wolverines were unable to gain a first down and settled for a 36-yard field goal by kicker Jason Olesnavage.

MSU answered with a 17-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 10:02 of the opening stanza and scored the game’s first touchdown on a Caper 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.

The Spartans gained 130 offensive yards on the drive and were penalized four times for 50 yards.

Michigan chipped away at the deficit as Olesnavage converted a 43-yard field goal at 4:43 of the second quarter. The 14-play, 67-yard scoring drive was aided by a key 41-yard pass from Tate Forcier to Kevin Koger on third-and-10 from U-M’s eight-yard line.

Michigan State answered with a 26-yard field goal by Brett Swenson on the final play of the first half. The Spartans’ 10-play drive covered 47 yards and was set up by a 36-yard kick return by Glenn Winston to the MSU 45-yard line.

Michigan State took advantage of excellent field position and a Swenson 24-yard field goal at 6:09 of the third quarter.

The Spartans took possession at U-M’s 13-yard line after stopping punter Zoltan Mesko on a fake punt. Brandon Graham forced the Spartans field-goal attempt with a huge hit on a third-and-one play from U-M’s four-yard line that lost one yard.

The Spartans increased their lead to 20-6 on a 15-yard touchdown run by Glenn Winston at 14:49 of the fourth quarter. MSU moved 70 yards in eight plays.

Michigan gained its best field position of the game at MSU’s 46-yard line after Graham sacked Cousins and stripped him of the ball. Obi Ezeh recovered the fumble. The Wolverines then moved inside the red zone, but Darryl Stonum was stripped of the ball at the MSU 10-yard line and the Spartans recovered.

The Wolverines made their largest offensive charge of the day in the final four minutes of regulation, scoring twice and forcing overtime. Michigan trimmed the deficit in half, 20-13, with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Forcier to Stonum with 4:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. The 68-yard scoring drive took 44 seconds and the scoring play came on a third-and-one play.

U-M’s final drive of regulation began at the 2:53 mark from its own eight-yard line. After a nine-yard completion and 11-yard run from Forcier, MSU was charged with a 15-yard personal foul, giving U-M an automatic first down and pushing it to the 42-yard line.

The rain again began to fall, with the wet grass proving difficult for the Wolverine offense. However, Forcier connected with Stonum for a 13-yard gain at the MSU 25 and just 21 seconds remaining.

With eight seconds left on third and eight, Forcier took the snap and connected with Roy Roundtree in the end zone with just two seconds left.

MSU took over on its own 28 with just two seconds on the clock and took a 2-yard team loss to send the game into overtime.

The Spartans finished with nearly a 2-1 advantage in total offense (417-251), but could never really put the Wolverines away.

Capers finished with only 47 yards rushing, but scored twice. Cousins was the leading rusher with 84 yards on seven carries. He was also 15-of-21 threw the air for 152 yards and a pair of interceptions.

Quarterback Keith Nichol finished 5-of-8 for 68 yards.

Forcier was Michigan’s top offensive player as he threw for 223 yards (17-of-32 with an interception) and rushed for a team-high 57 yards on 13 carries.

Michigan 3 3 0 14 0 0 – 20

Michigan State 7 3 3 7 6 6 – 26

MICH – Olesnavage, Jason 36 yd field goal          

MSU – Caper, Larry 1 yd run (Swenson, Brett kick)

MICH – Olesnavage 42 yd field goal          

MSU – Swenson 26 yd field goal          

MSU – Swenson 24 yd field goal          

MSU – Winston, Glenn 15 yd run (Swenson kick

MICH – Stonum, Darryl 60 yd pass from Forcier, Tate (Olesnavage kick)          

MICH – Roundtree, Roy 9 yd pass from Forcier (Olesnavage kick)          

MSU – Caper 23 yd run

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