The memory of how Michigan lost to Michigan State last college football season is one of those indelible moments that never goes away.

Just 10 seconds away from winning, the Wolverines watched punter Blake O’Neill bobble a snap and then inexplicably fumble the ball into the arms of Michigan State’s Jalen Watts-Jackson, who returned the ball 38 yards for the winning score as time expired.

The Spartans’ insane 27-23 victory marked their seventh victory in the last eight meetings with the Wolverines. The teams meet again on Saturday in East Lansing and the Michigan players are certainly anticipating the opportunity to exact revenge.

Senior safety Dymonte Thomas was on the punt team and he has replayed the final play in his mind countless times.

“I was on the field when that play happened,” Thomas said after last Saturday’s 41-8 trouncing of Illinois. “I just couldn’t believe what took place, and we had that bye week after, and during that whole bye week that’s the only thing I thought about. I couldn’t think about anything else and couldn’t wait to get revenge.

“Next Saturday, we’ve got our chance and our opportunity, and so I’m just excited and ready to go out and play with these guys. I love my teammates, and I love the way that we are playing together, and it’s going to be fun playing next Saturday, especially since it’s a rivalry game.”

Michigan State (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten) has endured a down season and has lost five consecutive games.

The college football power in the state has seemingly switched hands with the Wolverines (7-0, 4-0) ranked second in the nation in just their second season under coach Jim Harbaugh.

But Harbaugh isn’t about to view the Spartans as anything but a super dangerous opponent.

“It doesn’t matter what’s happened before this week. For us or for our opponent, it never does,” Harbaugh said at a press conference. “(What matters) is what happens on the game day. We know the task in front of us. We know the challenge.

“It’s up to us to go out there and prepare for that game so we can go out there and be confident, execute and have a chance to be successful.”

NOTES, QUOTES

PLAYERS TO WATCH

–QB Wilton Speight has 13 touchdown passes against two interceptions and continues to avoid costly mistakes. The sophomore has thrown for 1,447 yards and completed 62.6 percent of his passes in his first season as a starting quarterback. Speight was a question mark entering the season but is now on his way to being a three-year starter for the Wolverines.

–TE Jake Butt has four touchdown catches this season and his 11 career scores are second most in school history by a tight end. He is four behind first-place Jerame Tuman (1995-98) and also has caught at least one pass in 23 consecutive games. Butt has 26 receptions for 310 yards and four touchdowns – ranking second in each category behind senior receiver Amara Darboh.

–OLB Jabrill Peppers hasn’t been racking up the tackles for loss — he has 10 — like he was earlier this season but he is still the most dynamic player on the defense. The sophomore continues to be mentioned as a top five Heisman finalist and that quest is bolstered by averages of 30.6 on kickoff returns and 17.8 (and one touchdown) on punt returns. Peppers rushed the ball five times against Illinois but managed just nine yards after entering the contest with 98 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. –CB Jourdan Lewis is expecting to have a strong second half after putting his early season injuries behind him. The senior missed the first three games due to three different injuries but is now performing well against the pass. Lewis has just one interception but it was a crucial acrobatic game-saving grab against Wisconsin.



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