Your vote for the most gut-wrenching loss to Sparty

Submitted by mGrowOld on October 14th, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I know all too well we've lost the last three games to these guys but in my lifetime there were three nut-crunching losses to MSU that are stuck in my memory like the first fat chick you hooked up in the dorms when you were too drunk to notice but not drunk enough to forget what she looked like (more on that some other time).

1978 - MSU 24 - Michigan 15

The only conference loss for one of Bo's truly great teams.  Senior QB Ricky Leach's only loss to MSU derailed Blue's march to a possible National Championship season as Kirk Gibson goes off (yes he played football too) and almost single-handedly defeats Michigan.  The term "Arrogant Asses" is born.

1990 - MSU 28 - Michigan 27

#1 ranked Michigan makes a furious comeback and has a chance to steal the win (MSU outplayed us that day by a LOT) only to have the game end on the mother of all controversial "no calls" in college football history.   Little known fact - the ref who ate his flag that day in the end zone was the high school coach the year before of the MSU defender who DIDN'T interfere with Desmond on the two point conversation attempt.

2001 - MSU 26 - Michigan 24

Spartan Bob....multiple drive extending defensive penalties against Michigan and.another insanely obvious no-call on the last play of the game leads MSU to two point victory that literally changed the rules of college football.

And besides the obvious answer "all of them" which one is yours?



October 14th, 2011 at 10:32 AM ^

I'd say it was last year's. I was such a proponent of RR's offense, and I want so badly for it carve up that MSU defense, to shut them up, and to shut up everyone else who said it couldn't work in the B1G.

I guess I also knew our defense was terribad, and that made the loss and Sparty's salt-rubbing all the worse.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:36 AM ^

I second last year, especially when we drove down the field on the first drive and threw a pick intended for an open Treezy in the end zone.  That was a killer.  Spartan players even said that it changed the game


October 14th, 2011 at 10:43 AM ^

1990 IMO although 1978 is a close second.  All due respect to last years RR team but I never imagined they had a shot at the B1G championship let alone a National Championship.  Both the 78 and 90 teams went on to beat Ohio but losing to Sparty was an open sore on the season.

Spartan Bob just pisses me off because it was Saban and Plaxico who both make me taste vomit in my mouth any time I think of that game.  The stupidity of the personal foul before that play (Crable)-WHY!!!!! WHY!!!!!!!!!!!WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


October 14th, 2011 at 11:22 AM ^

tough but 2001 has to be it.  I was in the stands and just couldn't believe what had just happened.  It just seemed so unfair at the moment.  I sat in the stands for about 30 minutes afterwards just stunned.  Then went back to the tailgate I was at (it was mixed company) and had to listen Spartan slappies act all smug about a win they shouldn't have had.  I ended up walking home.

One other point, it wasn't Saban and was Bobby Williams, Charles Rogers, and TJ Duckett.  Just knowing that Rogers went on to semi-destroy the Lions makes it a bit tougher to swallow in retrospect.


October 14th, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

Spartan Bob was under Bobby Williams, not Saban. And are you thinking the OSU personal foul by Crable? Because LeSueur got a facemask penalty on Charles Rogers away from teh play on it. (as well as the 12 men on the field penalty that Hoke spoke about this week). Of course, the guy who caught the "game winning" touchdown shouldn't have been in the game, becaue the officials ignored him kicking a Michigan player that you could see from the upper deck, but apparently couldn't see on the field. (The officiating in the game was horrid throughout, not just at the end).

BTW, if you couldn't tell, that one gets my vote.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

I don't think it was the most gut-wrenching ever but that was such a tough game to lose. I really feel like we were moving the ball so easily on them and then Denard just kept ripping my heart out.  I watched the every snap videos yesterday and it gave me a lot of confidence for tomorrow if we can just limit the huge gaffes(red zone interceptions, giving up 80-yard plays).


October 14th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

2001, mostly because thats the only one of the three i can remember ( i was 6 years old in 1990).


I would also choose last year if it was an option.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

Absolutely its an option - we lost.  It's just not one of mine that's all........

But I 100% agree with the thought that the end zone pick changed EVERYTHING.  Anybody who doesnt think an entire game can swing on the emotion of one play just needs to look at the tape of last year's MSU game.  DR hits that for 6 instead of the pick and i also believe that game has a very different outcome.  But just like my three....we'll never know.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

I would nominate 2009, though it's not probably an obvious one. Had the team won it would have gotten to a bowl game, which might have helped in anticipation of 2010. Maybe pulling out that game would have provided the springboard to finish off games against Iowa, Illinois and Purdue in 2009 that were lost in close/unfathomable circumstances. A 9 win season in 2009 really would have changed things with recruiting too (Parker, Grimes, Knight?)

The Michigan fanbase wouldn't be concerned about 4 losses in a row right now. Rich Rod would probably still be around.

And most importantly, THAT hit by Brandon Graham would be talked about during the broadcast tomorrow. Those TDs by Roundtree and Stonum would be the focus as part of an epic Michigan comeback.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:59 AM ^

I think you are overreaching with a 2009 win.  One game does not make a season and the outcome of one game does not effect the outcome of the next.  It would have padded RR's job security for a little while, but what's done is done.  We deserved to lose all of those games mentioned from 2009, it was not an instance where team morale was super low and the team gave up (a la the 2010 Gator Bowl)


October 14th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

I definitely agree on 2009 (though I don't know that winning that game = 9 win season).  For me it was the big comeback and all that excitement followed by such a gut wrenching pop of the balloon with Tate's pick and then the TD run on 3rd and long when I was still believing/praying for a missed FG.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

This may just be because I was not born/3months old for the other two, but I feel like it's Spartan Bob, and it's not even close.  It's not just the way they won, but the way that most State fans refuse to acknowledge what happened.  They act like there's no clear replay that shows the manipulation of the clock.  Also, TJ Duckett is one of my least favorite all-time Spartans, so that doesn't help either.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

Last year's is definitely it for me.  The team got badly exposed and you could almost feel the entire stadium deflate in regards to hopes and expectations for the rest of the year.  In terms of pure soul killing, I think it's the king.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

I was out for most of the day and came back in time for the fourth quarter. I almost punched a hole in my parents' house when Michigan State scored the winning touchdown. 

I will say that 1990 was pivotal for me because that's what made me a Michigan fan for life. After that game, my dad gleefully said he was happy Michigan lost, that he rooted for MSU (he got a certificate from one of their satellite managment education centers--not exactly legit, but in his mind it was), and that he was never a fan of Bo (although he was retired by this point). So what does a good son do? Root for the team Dad despises. I'd it's paid off well the past 20+ years.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

Sitting in the Spartan Sports Den (I can't help my wife's poor choice in college affiliations), seeing those extra seconds, watching the game end that way... The "don't be a crybaby Wolverine" guffaws when I mentioned the clock... It galls me to this day.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

Have to echo the sentiment about last year.  Really wanted to see the Spread and Shred rule the day and was mega-high off the 5-0 start.  Being dismantled by them and then being summarily dismantled by the rest of the B1G top tier the rest of the season, was not good very general happiness.  Hoping we don't get our hearts broken again this year.

Section 1

October 14th, 2011 at 10:58 AM ^

You've selected the three best choices, for sure.

For me, 1990 was the worst.  We were Number 1.  And I disagree that we got outplayed that day by so much.  MSU got a bunch of good calls; not just the Eddie Brown no-call.  That was the one time I sat in a row immediately adjacent to the tunnel, and I almost went over the railing at the refs went they exited after the game.  They looked very scared and confused as they left; rightfully so.  I hope they were scared.  By the way; the interference no-call wasn' the only bad call on that one play!  The fact was, Desmond caught that ball even though he was tripped, and it popped out after his shoulder hit the ground.  I'd contend that he had posession, was down by virtue of his lower boddy hitting the deck, and then the ground caused the fumble.

The Spartan Bob clock game comes next.  And it was a close second.  That's how bad that clock deal was.  It was in their building, and they knew that they stole that one.  That was like a tall glass of vomit.

The least offensive one to me (because it was such a good Spartan team) was the '78 game.  I think that was one of the better football games I witnessed, even though it wasn't overtime like Braylonfest.


October 14th, 2011 at 4:10 PM ^

I also agree with those three, even though 78 was my freshman year. I remember how disorienting it was watching Gibson run free, and Leach throwing those bad INT's… It wasn't a last play shocker, but rather a slowly unfolding disaster that still outpaced my drunken brain's ability to process it. Whenever anybody says a crowd is deflated, that's what I think of.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

I was in the student section for that game with some of my buddies from school and it sucked... However, late that night in a drunken anger I managed to whizz all over Sparty, so that somehow helps me cope to this day... 


The worst though to me, was by far 1990.  Desmond was raped in the end zone, and I was 9 at the time.  Some of my dad's side of the family are Sparty supporters and they literally started taunting me as I screamed in anger.  And that my friends was the day my hatred for Sparty really took hold. 


October 14th, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

It's one thing to lose on the field, it sucks yea, but to have the game extended due to a timekeeper was not right. And wasn't the B1G rules changed on timekeepers becasue of that game?


October 14th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

I have always thought it was 1990 - tripping Desmond. Then you drop this:

"Little known fact - the ref who ate his flag that day in the end zone was the high school coach the year before of the MSU defender who DIDN'T interfere with Desmond on the two point conversation attempt."


I did not know that. That makes for much more controversy than Spartan Bob IMO.


October 14th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

I seriously cannot discuss this.  The anger/bile mix will ruin my lunch.  It's been 21 years, and I still feel like this STOLEN victory is as fresh today as it was that cursed Saturday afternoon.

how How HOW is that not called!!!!!!!!!!

restive neb

October 14th, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

There has never been a sporting contest that made me so angry for so long.  It was over 20 years ago, and I'm still angry about it.  I'm not sure how you can be more blatant about a pass-interference than grabbing the ankle of the receiver as the ball is approaching.  The no-call was unforgivable.


October 14th, 2011 at 10:58 AM ^

Losing fair and square to Sparty (or any team for that matter) is bad and 2009 and 2010, although difficult to swallow were at least legit losses --- but losing because of a no-call pass interference or a manipulated clock is not what "settling it on the field" is all about.

Those two losses - 1990 and 2001 - were devastating because they weren't fair and weren't settled on the field or even by playing football.  They were settled by a ref's blind mistake and a blatant h mismanagement by an MSU employee.


Benoit Balls

October 14th, 2011 at 11:08 AM ^

I was 13. We were at my Uncle's house on White Lake and I was so down afterwards that my Father busted a brand new dozen Pro Staff out of his golf bag and let me whack away my emotions into the lake.


Clock gate was awful, but by then my Dad had died and I realized that footbal wasn't the be all end all.


October 14th, 2011 at 11:09 AM ^

Both were determined by incompetence and outright fraud perpetrated by officials/timekeepers.

I was at the '78 game, and Sparty just beat us fair and square that day. Like last year, our loss that day was also heavily influenced by our own poor QB play. Rick Leach went 5-15 for 98 yards in passing, and threw three INTs.

MSU's QB Eddie Smith, by contrast, just went off on us, and we never could catch up. I can attest to the fact that literally everybody in the stadium was stunned, even Sparty fans. We were 4-0 and ranked #5 nationally, while Sparty was 1-3 and seemingly going nowhere.


October 14th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

What is it with all you people in wanting to relive painful losses? That's the absolute opposite of everything I've been trying to do with my YouTube account the last 4 years. 

Now, can we please start a favorite victories over Sparty thread?  We've got a hell of a lot more games to choose from with wins than losses.   


October 14th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

4 years ago I changed jobs and now work in Owosso, which has a pretty healthy Spartan backing. Each loss the past three years has gotten progressively harder to take so that last one particularly stung; the INTs in the endzone, the big runs we allowed,  the way they held on to the ball at the end, the way I had to go back to work...that one really sucked.


October 14th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

nominate the 1987 game...when D. Brown (I think?) threw something like seven interceptions and yet Michigan still only lost by 6.  That was tough one to take.

Fort Wayne Blue

October 14th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

1990 & 2001 [wasn't alive in '78]

2001 infuriated me, not only did the D shoot itself in the foot .... the clock at the end was a JOKE!

1990 was for a National Championship .... so that one really hurts.....

I guess if i have to fall off a long i'd says 1990 just because the stakes were a bit higher....