Led by Chris Perry (219 yards, 51 carries), the Wolverines take top spot in Big Ten.
By Wire services
Published November 2, 2003
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Chris Perry's chest heaved as he put his hands on his knees. Then, he rested an arm on an official.
He had good reason to be tired.
Perry ran for 219 yards on a school-record 51 carries and John Navarre threw three touchdowns to lead Michigan past Michigan State 27-20 on Saturday.
"I need a hot tub," Perry said. "And we've got one in our apartment."
The Wolverines moved into first place in the Big Ten after earning the rivalry's second road win in 12 years.
"You're not going to be Big Ten champions unless you're state champions," Michigan's Dave Pearson said.
If Michigan, which is off next week, wins at Northwestern in two weeks and at home against Ohio State on Nov. 22, the Wolverines will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since winning the 1997 national championship.
"We have to finish this off," Navarre said.
The Spartans had won five straight and at 7-1 were off to their best start since 1966. If Michigan State wins on the road against Ohio State and Wisconsin and at home against Penn State, it will have at least a share of its first Big Ten title since 1990.
"It's far from over," Michigan State's Jeff Smoker said.
Just when it appeared Michigan would add to its 14-point lead and put the game away, Robert Flagg sacked Navarre and forced a fumble that Clifford Dukes returned 65 yards for a TD with 6:03 left.
Michigan drove into Michigan State territory but punted into the end zone with 1:06 left.
With no timeouts, Michigan State drove to midfield. The game ended on Smoker's desperation heave that was intercepted by Scott McClintock in the end zone after it hit receiver Aaron Alexander's hands.
"We dominated that game," Michigan's Ernest Shazor said. "Don't let the final score fool you."
Perry passed the Michigan rushing-attempt record of 42 set by Ron Johnson in 1967 and matched by Anthony Thomas in 1999. His TD in the second quarter was the first score.
"I promise you, he didn't want to come out," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
Navarre was 17-of-31 for 223 yards with three TDs and one interception. Braylon Edwards caught seven passes for 103 yards and two scores.
Smoker was 21-of-40 for 254 yards with a TD and an interception, his first in more than 200 passes. Agim Shabaj had four receptions for 106 yards and a TD.
Michigan's offensive line was dominating, and for the 33rd time in 34 meetings the team that ran for more yards won. Michigan outgained Michigan State 216-36 on the ground.