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In-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State draw in draining double overtime

October 6, 2021
<p>Michigan State&#x27;s freshman forward Zack Babiak (21) competes with University of Michigan&#x27;s fifth-year midfielder Marc Ybarra (23) in the tied game on Oct. 5, 2021.</p>

Michigan State's freshman forward Zack Babiak (21) competes with University of Michigan's fifth-year midfielder Marc Ybarra (23) in the tied game on Oct. 5, 2021.

In-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State battled it out for the 20th annual Big Bear Trophy last night, ending in a draining double-overtime 2-2 draw.

The event started off rough, to say the least.

MSU knocked the ball into their own net within less than five minutes of play, giving U-M an automatic, own-goal point. The backline had to fight extra hard to keep the shame from the booing crowd off their shoulders as the clock ticked on.

"I mean, after that, the atmosphere was amazing," redshirt freshman defender Chase Inscho said. "They came out firing and we clearly weren't ready or at the standard we needed to be at. In the locker room, we really just decided we had to put everything on the line. This game is so hectic, especially ... with the rivalry, that anything can happen."

Following, senior midfielder Jack Beck attempted two back-to-back shots on goal, coming up short both times, leading sophomore midfielder Jacob Cromer to try for the third and the charm.

Still, it produced nothing but the same old story: 1-0, Spartans down and disgruntled with a hefty amount of yellow cards stemming from foul play.

After recent games, questions pressed.

Were they ever going to get out of their scoring drought? When would MSU see the light at the end of the tunnel – or back of the net, in this case?

What happened after halftime can be chalked up to an act of faith and serendipity, one could say.

"I actually said to them, 'Look, these last two games we've played awesome in the first half and we lost both," MSU Head Coach Damon Rensing said postgame. "Who cares? We can play great this (second) half, let's just go get some goals.' We always start off well and, most of the time, we have nothing to show for it. I showed a lot of belief because that's ultimately what I have for this group."

Within three minutes, senior forward Farai Mutatu and junior defender Nick Stone had sealed the deal and captured the lead for the green and white. It was up to the rest of the team to make sure that held true for the next 40 minutes.

However, with under 10 minutes left in regulation play, U-M junior defender Brennan Callow snuck one around MSU redshirt senior goalkeeper Hunter Morse's brick wall.

The exhaustion from the crowd was overwhelming.

Two sudden-death overtime periods later and the in-state rivals left the field drained, not upset over a loss and not joyous over a win, but disappointed over the draw because they knew they could do better. That they knew the teams deserved better.

"I'm proud of our performance," Beck said postgame. "We showed (what) Michigan State soccer (is) tonight. We can be upset because we demand more of ourselves. We wanted that win, we wanted that Big Bear (Trophy). If we keep playing the way that we are, hopefully we'll get another shot at them this year. I'm confident."

The Spartans (4-5-2, 0-2-2 Big Ten) will jet to the East coast for a meeting against Rutgers next on Sunday, Oct. 10. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

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