Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Number one vs. No one": Michigan State vs. Michigan football game 1990

The play that will haunt Michigan fans' dreams for years.

I was able to watch this controversial Spartan victory for the first time since the game was originally played, compliments of the Big Ten Network.

The most famous play in the game--the one that people still talk about and debate, was Michigan's failed 2-point conversion attempt late in the game that would have given Michigan the lead. Okay, it pains me to admit this, but the officials probably DID blow the call.

As a Spartan fan, I request that any Wolverine fans still hung up on this loss, give it up please. There were a few calls in that game that went against MSU, believe it or not (for example, Michigan running back Jon Vaughn's fumble at the Spartan goal line that was ruled to have been caused by the ground).

Both teams were very solid, and ended up deadlocked along with Illinois and Iowa in a four-way tie for the Big Ten title. The game was hard-hitting and featured several impressive individual performances. Desmond Howard had a great game for Michigan, and how did I forget about Jon Vaughn? He was a tough and rugged runner. For the Spartans, Tico Duckett and the late, great Hyland Hickson were outstanding in the backfield, and quarterback Dan Enos played arguably the best game of his college career, even though he had a horrible interception late in the first half that Michigan almost converted into a half-ending fieldgoal. Thankfully for Spartans, the kick was wide-left. If the Wolverines had converted the fieldgoal, they'd have taken a 10-7 lead into the locker room along with plenty of momentum.

MSU definitely had an advantage that year at running back, with the Duckett-Hickson tandem, but the real disparity in this particular game was at receiver, where Michigan had the dynamic duo of Desmond Howard and Derrick Alexander. MSU had (drum roll please)...Brian Smolinsky along with Hickson and Duckett occasionally catching a pass out of the backfield. (The Spartans' top receiver, Courtney Hawkins, was injured and didn't play in this game. If Hawkins had been able to play, maybe the Spartans could have won by more than one point and avoided the controversial ending. We'll never know). Still, two very evenly matched teams who duked it out like heavyweights that long-ago Saturday afternoon at the Big House. I'd love to see the teams of Dantonio and Rodriguez go at it for the next several years, with the Spartans somehow getting the upper hand.

If there are any Spartan fans out there who somehow stumble upon this blog, actually read the thing, and conclude that I'm being way too polite towards Michigan, I'm not apologizing. (Although, I will offer congratulations to you for being a fan of the correct school). This will not be my own personal launching pad for insulting and namecalling other teams (even Michigan), there's far too much of that on practically every fan site you can find on the web. (Of course, that's what I say NOW, but when MSU and Michigan play this fall--who knows what kind of colorful language you'll find on this blog! I'm not always so charitable towards that school down the road).

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