Football

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In 12 plays and 5:39, Michigan’s offense showed it all, and in the process offered a tantalizing hypothetical: Maybe this offense actually could be everything it once promised.

Sophomore receiver Ronnie Bell had 150 yards on nine receptions in Michigan's 44-10 win over Michigan State..

As the Michigan football team returned to the sideline with the end zone covered in towels, a stadium rocking and the game in hand, Ronnie Bell had his helmet off. He was talking to Josh Gattis. It was the start of the fourth quarter and the Wolverines were leading by 24.

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh stopped Shea Patterson moments before he trotted onto the field to put the finishing touches on his best performance as a Wolverine.

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Michigan rushed the field, lifting the Paul Bunyan trophy in the end zone and gesturing to the crowd.

Mark Dantonio walked off slowly, following his team into the tunnel.

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Lavert Hill bounced down the Michigan sideline, waiving his arms in jubilation with his helmet in hand. Behind him, the rest of the Wolverines did the same, spilling onto the field, toward the stands and everywhere in between.

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It’s to be seen whether Saturday will be competitive, but high intensity is a foregone conclusion. Here’s what to watch for in Saturday’s rivalry bout.

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I know that’s not 100 percent accurate. For the Wolverines, a loss would end any faint hopes at a New Years’ Six Bowl. For Michigan State, it could be the difference between the Quick Lane Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl — both worthy successors to its prestigious 2018 RedBox Bowl appearance.

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It’s for good reason — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is notorious for his trick plays. He’s run them for years, with well-known plays dating back to the beginning of his tenure in East Lansing. The Wolverines are well aware how much hate goes into this rivalry, and they know that Dantonio’s trickery is another thing to look out for.

Over the course of the season, Shea Patterson has improved his ball security, with six games since his last lost fumble.

With increased ball security, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has been able to use all the weapons in his arsenal for the offense.

Four years after the notorious error that led Michigan to lose to Michigan State, Scott Sypniewski is still grappling with that day.

Four years after the punt that changed the course of history for the Michigan football team, the hurt still lingers.