EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight acknowledged the watershed moment that came in Saturday’s 32-23 win at Michigan State.
“Guys in my class have never experienced this feeling,” said Speight, a redshirt sophomore who was 16-for-25 passing for 244 yards and was intercepted once.
Unless you were a freshman in 2012 with the Wolverines and are now a fifth-year senior, like receiver Jehu Chesson or defensive lineman Chris Wormley, you would have never at all known the feeling of beating Michigan State, until Saturday afternoon.
Taking the Paul Bunyan Trophy back to Ann Arbor was a first for nearly all of the Wolverines.
Saturday was also a first for two more visible members of Michigan’s coaching staff and administration.
First, Jim Harbaugh earned his first coaching win against Michigan State. (Harbaugh’s teams defeated Michigan State four times between 1982 and 1986, when Harbaugh played at Michigan.)
“A lot of joy,” Harbaugh said. “It’s the great thrill of victory. The wonderful, wonderful feeling of winning. Jim McKay, right? The thrill of victory? Good feeling.”
And Warde Manuel earned his first win against Michigan State as Michigan’s athletic director. Hired in January after nearly four years as the athletic director at Connecticut, Manuel played football for two seasons at Michigan before leaving the sport because of a neck injury, and his teams were 1-1 against the Spartans in 1986 and 1987.
“I’m proud of coach and the team and the success we’ve had,” Manuel said Saturday at Michigan State. “We knew it was going to be a tough game today. Everybody played hard. From time long gone to a long time in the future, that’s the way it is.
But, Manuel added, “Paul was in (the locker room). It was good to see him.”