MSU football's 12-10 loss to U-M in 2012 bad memory for upperclassmen
Oct. 20, 2012 serves as the only time in the last six years MSU wasn’t hoisting Paul Bunyan after the annual rivalry game with Michigan, and it’s still something players haven’t forgotten about.
“That’s probably one of my toughest games here,” senior linebacker Taiwan Jones said. “... It really hurt, it was a close game the whole time. They made the field goal at the end and everybody on their sidelines is running around, jumping up and down in your face, the fans are going crazy.”
Despite holding U-M without a touchdown, the Wolverines were able to snap a four-game losing streak against MSU in 2012, winning 12-10. The game was a back and forth contest that saw MSU take a lead late in the fourth quarter, but a 38-yard field goal kicker by U-M kicker Brendan Gibbons in the final seconds of the game pushed the Wolverines past MSU.
The loss to U-M came in the middle of a disappointing 7-6 season, and the loss to U-M dropped MSU to 4-4 on the season. MSU struggled to get anything going offensively that day with one of its biggest plays coming on a fake punt 26-yard run by senior punter Mike Sadler.
Head coach Mark Dantonio said on Tuesday that he remembered the game being played clean, and despite losing, he was proud of his team’s performance.
“As I remember, it was a great football game,” Dantonio said. “... I was very proud of our football team in terms of how we represented ourselves and, you know, somebody is always going to win and somebody is going to lose.”
While Dantonio had some optimistic views toward the depressing loss in 2012, players are looking back to the loss as extra motivation this week.
Senior defensive end Marcus Rush played in the 2012 loss to U-M and also remembers the post game reaction from the Wolverines. Rush said with all the preparation and emotion that goes into this rivalry matchup, coming up short in the end is tough to swallow.
“Just playing Michigan, the whole buildup, and then not accomplishing the goal that you have,” Rush said of the 2012 loss. “I mean, it’s never a good feeling, so that’s really how I felt. You’re just kind of down, your heart is sunk in.”
Along with Rush, Saturday serves as the final time Jones and the rest of the seniors will take on their most hated rival. After already enduring one loss to U-M, Jones has felt both the joy and disappointment this rivalry can bring and wants to go out on top against the Wolverines.
“It’s just a bad feeling, a feeling you don’t want to feel as a football player or athlete in general when you’re playing your rival,” Jones said. “We always take that into account and just know how that felt and don’t want to experience that again.”