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College Football Classic Rewind: Spartans Knock Off Michigan in Controversial Finish 17

Posted on October 11, 2011 by A.J. Foss

When it comes to the football rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans, some observers see it as Big Brother vs. Little Brother with the Wolverines cast as the big brother and the Spartans as the little brother.

Heading into their 1990 meeting, Michigan had a confident feeling they were going to their little brother another beat down as the Wolverines entered the game as the #1 team in the country while Michigan State came in with a losing record.

The 1990 season was the first season in 21 years that Michigan did not have legendary head coach Bo Schembechler roaming the sidelines.

Gary Moeller, a Michigan assistant coach for 17 of Schembechler’s 21 years at Michigan, took over as head coach and guided the Wolverines to the #1 ranking despite a 28-24 loss to Notre Dame in the season opener.

Michigan had an offense that featured running back Jon Vaughn, the nation’s leading rusher at with 168 yards per game, sophomore quarterback Elvis Grbac, and a sophomore wide receiver named Desmond Howard, who was starting to make a name for himself in college football.

While the Wolverines came into the game as the top-ranked team in the country, the Spartans entered the game with a 1-2-1 record and were coming off a 12-7 loss to Iowa the week before.

This was the eighth season for Michigan State with head coach George Perles as head coach, who had complied a 46-33-3 record in his first seven seasons and had taken the Spartans to a Rose Bowl victory following a 1987 Big Ten championship season.

However, Perles had a 2-5 record against Michigan and had been held to an average of less than seven points in the previous five meetings against the Wolverines. Read the rest of this entry →

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