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Spartans' first loss at hand of nemesis Wolverines

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Mike Hart's return and Garrett Rivas'
redemption gave Michigan a win it desperately needed.

Hart ran for 218 yards and a touchdown in his first game back
from an injury, and Rivas made up for missing a field goal in the
final minute of regulation by kicking a 35-yarder in overtime to
give the Wolverines a 34-31 win over No. 11 Michigan State on
Saturday.

"All I wanted was another chance," Rivas said. "Luckily,
overtime went our way and we were able to get another shot."

John Goss narrowly missed a 37-yard field goal in overtime and
didn't connect on a 23-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter
that would have given the Spartans their only lead.

"I have no excuses for how I did," Goss said with watery eyes.
"I feel bad for letting my teammates down."

Hart's return from a hamstring injury after missing two-plus
games allowed the Wolverines (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) to avoid their
worst start since 1967.

"I'll never forget this day," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.

Coach John L. Smith hopes the Spartans don't either.

"It hurts real bad, and it should hurt," Smith said. "I hope
the players feel it and I hope they don't forget the feeling."

Drew Stanton was 20-of-30 for 282 yards with a TD pass and an
interception for the Spartans (4-1, 1-1), who lost their fourth
straight game in the rivalry.

"They just outplayed us," Stanton said. "They made fewer
mistakes."

The Wolverines were ranked as high as third but losses to Notre
Dame and Wisconsin dropped them out of the poll for the first time
since 1998, snapping the nation's longest streak of 114-straight
poll appearances.

The Spartans were in the Top 25 and Michigan was 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.

"When Michigan State is ranked ahead of you and you're
Michigan, it's not good. That's pressure in itself," Hart said.
"We were 2-2. That's pressure within itself.

"We don't ever lose three games a year. If we lost three, what
would that make us look like? We knew it was a must-win."

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

The Wolverines led by 14 twice in the first half on Saturday and
were ahead 24-21 at halftime after both teams combined for 610
yards of offense.

After a flawless first half in which Michigan's Chad Henne threw
three TD passes 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. Henne's fumble stood
after a replay.

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.

Henne was 26-of-35 for 256 yards. Jason Avant caught 10 passes
for 96 yards and a TD.

Facing a crossroads, the Wolverines started and finished well.

"It was a great win," Hart said. "Everyone was doubting us."

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
Wolverines' side, 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.

Jehuu Caulcrick's 1-yard run for the Spartans made it 21-14
midway through the second quarter and they tied the game on their
next possession on Stanton's 61-yard pass to Kerry Reed.

Rivas' 20-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in the half put
Michigan ahead 24-21.

The Wolverines were without receiver and kick returner Steve
Breaston because of an undisclosed injury, but Hart's return more
than made up for it.