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October 1, 2005

Michigan's Hart shines in return



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EAST LANSING, Mich. Mike Hart returned from an injury to run for 218 yards and a touchdown, and Garrett Rivas made up for missing a field goal in the final minute of regulation by kicking a 35-yarder in overtime to give Michigan a 34-31 win over No. 11 Michigan State on Saturday.

Hart's return from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss two-plus games allowed the Wolverines (3-2, 1-1 Big ten) to avoid their worst start since 1967.

Drew Stanton was 20-of-30 for 282 yards with a TD and an interception for the Spartans (4-1, 1-1) who lost their fourth straight game in the rivalry. Michigan State's John Goss narrowly missed a 37-yard field goal in overtime.

Last year, Michigan State had a 27-10 lead against Michigan with 8:43 left before losing in triple overtime.

The Wolverines began the season ranked fourth but losses to Notre Dame and Wisconsin dropped them out of the Top 25 for 1998, snapping the nation's longest streak of 114-straight poll appearances.

Rivas missed a 27-yard field goal to the right with 48 seconds left, but with no timeouts left, the Spartans couldn't get past midfield.

Kicking miscues hurt the Spartans, too.

They tied the game on Goss' 26-yard goal early in the third quarter and had a chance to go ahead on their next drive, but Goss missed a 23-yard attempt.

Michigan's Chad Henne was 26-of-35 for 256 yards with three touchdowns, an interception and a fumble. Jason Avant caught 10 passes for 96 yards and a TD.

The Wolverines led 24-21 at halftime after both teams combined for 610 yards of offense.

After a flawless first half in which Henne threw for three TDs without a turnover, his interception led to a game-tying field goal early in the third quarter and his fumble midway through the fourth was returned 74 yards by defensive tackle Domata Peko for a TD, knotting the game at 31.

The Spartans were ranked, the Wolverines were not and Michigan State was the favorite in the annual matchup for the first time since 1968, the year before Bo Schembechler began coaching the Wolverines.

Facing a crossroads, the Wolverines started and finished well.

Michigan went ahead 14-0 after its first two possessions on Avant's leaping, 2-yard catch in the corner of the end zone and Mario Manningham's 43-yard reception.

After two stalled drives and with momentum firmly on the side of the Wolverines, Michigan State converted two third downs and made it 14-7 on Stanton's 4-yard run.

The Spartans were driving deep when a halfback pass by Jerramy Scott was intercepted at Michigan's 4 by Willis Barringer, whose fumble was recovered by the Wolverines on a play that stood after a replay.

Michigan State was called for roughing the kicker on the ensuing possession. The Wolverines decided to take the points off the scoreboard, and the move paid off when Henne threw a 5-yard pass to Brian Thompson for a 21-7 lead.

After trailing by 14 for the second time, the Spartans scored a TD on their next drive. Jehuu Caulcrick 's 1-yard run made it 21-14 midway through the second quarter.

Michigan State tied the game on its next possession when Stanton rolled left and threw back across the field to Kerry Reed, who took advantage of a well-designed play for a 61-yard TD.

Rivas' 20-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the half to put Michigan ahead 24-21.

The Wolverines were without receiver and kick returner Steve Breaston because of an undisclosed injury, but got a huge boost from Hart's return.

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