College football rivalries: Key dates in Michigan–Mich. State history

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Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr (Photo: Flickr–U-M School of Dentistry–wikimedia commons

October 25, 1997: Michigan 23, Michigan State 7

Michigan 12-0, wins national co-championship with Nebraska)

(U-M 21, Washington St. 16, Rose Bowl)

Like 1990, the Wolverines came into Michigan State game undefeated, with thoughts of a Big Ten Title and dreams of a national crown.

The old adage, “defense wins championships” could definitely apply to this squad. Michigan was not about to let this game slip away, especially with defenders like Charles Woodson, Marcus Ray, Tommy Hendricks and Dhani Jones—and a ridiculous points-allowed average of 8.3.

Trickery prevailed early, however, as the Spartans scored first with a 22-yard pass off a fake field goal attempt. QB Bill Burke hit RB Sedrick Irvin as the Michigan faithful cringed with  thoughts of the 1990 robbery.

But that was all the scoring Michigan State would do as both  Woodson and Ray notched a pair of interceptions.

Woodson’s first came on a leaping one-handed grab, which not only made most highlight reels nationwide, but also put him in the running for Heisman Trophy.

Michigan went on to knock off Ohio State before sneaking by Washington State 21-16 to claim a share of the national title with Nebraska. Woodson became the second Wolverine in less than a decade to win the Heisman.