Michigan vs. Michigan State Rivalry: All-Time Record, Upsets, & More

min read
Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III (9) runs against Michigan during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
BetMGM Staff @BETMGM Aug 06, 2022, 3:31 PM

The Big Ten Conference has plenty of trophy games to go around, with the Paul Bunyan Trophy going to the winner of one of the most heated rivalries in not just the Midwest but all of college football, when the Michigan Wolverines take on the Michigan State Spartans for Mitten State supremacy.

The rivalry has had sensational moments on and off the field, especially since 2007. It’s a series that began in 1898, but the Paul Bunyan trophy was not introduced until 1953 to mark MSU’s acceptance into the Big Ten. As both teams look to stay within reach in Big Ten Championship odds at the online sportsbook, here’s a look at the rivalry.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Rivalry

All-time record: Michigan leads 71-38-5 (38-29-2 for the Paul Bunyan Trophy)

Record in the last ten meetings: Michigan State leads 6-4

Longest Win Streak: Michigan 14-straight (1916-1929)

Current Streak: Michigan State 2

Best Game

Michigan 45, Michigan State 37, 3 OT(2004)

The best game in the series was in 2004, when an underperforming Spartans team faced the 11th-ranked Wolverines.

Michigan State held a 27-10 lead with 8:43 left in regulation when Michigan began its comeback. A Garrett Rivas field goal and two Braylon Edwards touchdown catch in less than six minutes of game time sent it to overtime.

The Spartans and Wolverines traded field goals, and touchdowns in the first two overtimes before Michigan finally won, thanks to another Edwards TD, which he scored on a 24-yard pass. After the two-point conversion, the Wolverines stopped the Spartans from holding on to Paul Bunyan.

Biggest Upset

Michigan State 24, No. 5 Michigan 15 (1978)

The 1978 edition of the Paul Bunyan game featured a hero that most people will know from his time in Major League Baseball, Kirk Gibson. The Wolverines entered the game ranked fifth in the nation, while the Spartans were 1-3.

Michigan State would go on to shock the Wolverines 24-15 behind 496 yards of offense, including Gibson’s five catches for 82 yards. The Spartans took home Paul Bunyan, for the first time in eight tries, as the victory catapulted them to a seven-game winning streak and a share of the Big Ten title with Michigan.

Top Performer

RB Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State (2021)

It was tough to pick between Kenneth Walker III’s 197-yard, five-touchdown performance in 2021 and Braylon Edward’s 11-catch, 189-yard, three-touchdown heroics in the Michigan comeback in 2004.

Walker III’s performance – after a College GameDay appearance – is slightly more impressive given that the Wake Forest transfer did that to the eventual Big Ten champions and a defense that was one of the best in the country.

College Football Odds at BetMGM

College football odds are available at BetMGM throughout the year. And with live sports betting, there’s never a break in the action.

Available for hundreds of games each year, live betting allows you to place live wagers as you’re watching a game from home, the bar, or stands. Whether you like to bet on spreads, over/under totals, or moneylines, there’s something for everyone!

Visit the online sportsbook today to get closer to the action!

Jamie Foxx holding a mobile phone next to the BetMGM's risk-free bet offer.
About the Author

BetMGM Staff

Read More @BETMGM

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.