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Sam Richmond | | November 24, 2015

College football: The best rivalry games of this decade

  Michigan State beat Michigan earlier this season in one of the most improbably ways imaginable.

The last five years have produced some of the best games between traditional rivals in college football history. We’ve seen incredible comebacks, miracle finishes and, simply put, just really fun football games to watch.

Let’s relive some of these amazing games:

Alabama-Auburn 2010

Auburn’s chances of making the 2010 national championship game appeared to be in serious jeopardy a little more than 20 minutes into this Iron Bowl. The Tigers entered the game with a 12-0 record, but the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter. But Auburn had Cam Newton on its side, which meant they were never out of it. Newton accounted for three unanswered touchdowns to get his team within three points in the third quarter. After Alabama tacked on another field goal to make it 27-21 entering the fourth quarter, Newton found Philip Lutzenkirchen for a seven-yard touchdown to improbably put Auburn up a point with 11:55 to go. The Tigers’ defense then finished the job, keeping Alabama off the scoreboard the rest of the way. Newton ultimately won the Heisman and led the Tigers to a national title.


Michigan-Ohio State 2013

You never know what will happen when two teams with a lot of history share the field. A great representation of that is Michigan and Ohio State’s rivalry bout in 2013. The Buckeyes entered the game with a perfect 11-0 record while the Wolverines had lost three of their last four games and ultimately finished with a 7-6 record for the season. Still, Michigan gave Ohio State all it could handle during this classic game. Both teams couldn’t be stopped offensively, and a one-yard touchdown rush from Carlos Hyde made it 42-35 in favor of the Buckeyes with 2:20 to go. But Devin Gardner and Michigan stormed down the field and scored a touchdown with 32 seconds left. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke then made the gutsy decision to go for the two-point conversion and the win, but the Ohio State defense stood tall and Tyvis Powell intercepted Gardner to clinch the win.


Alabama-Auburn 2013

The 2013 Iron Bowl will forever be one of the most memorable games in college football history. The stakes for the game at Jordan Hare were at an all-time high for both teams: the victor would head to the SEC Championship game and remain in the hunt for a national championship game berth. The contest was tight throughout, and all hell brook loose in the final quarter. First, Alabama took a seven-point lead with 10:28 to go on a 99-yard touchdown pass. But Auburn hung in there and appeared to force overtime by scoring a 39-yard touchdown of their own with 32 seconds left. However, Alabama pushed for the win and decided to attempt a 57-yard field goal with one second left, a second that was put back on the clock after officials originally ruled regulation over after the previous play. Setting the stage for…  


Miami-Florida State 2014

Florida State entered this game as the kings of college football. The reigning champions and owners of an incredible 25-game winning streak, the Seminoles looked to make a statement and beat up on their rival Miami. However, early on, it was Brad Kaaya and the Hurricanes making the statement. The Hurricanes jumped out to a 16-0 lead and ultimately carried a 23-10 lead into the halftime break. Sun Life Stadium was going bonkers as the Canes looked like easily the superior team through the game’s first 30 minutes. But, as they had a habit of doing all throughout the 2014 season, Jameis Winston and the Seminoles stormed back. A Karlos Williams receiving touchdown off a fortunate deflection in the third quarter got them back in the game and a Dalvin Cook rushing score with 3:05 left to go gave them their first lead. The Hurricanes had one last chance and drove into Seminole territory, but a Jalen Ramsey interception at the 16-yard line iced the game and gave Florida State its 26th straight win. The Seminoles would go on to finish the regular season undefeated for the second year in a row, but they fell in the College Football Playoff to Oregon.


Michigan-Michigan State 2015

While maybe hard to imagine, the finish to this game was even crazier than the 2013 Iron Bowl. At least with the Iron Bowl finish you could somewhat see the insanity coming; it’s not shocking to see a kicker come up short on a 57-yard kick, and Davis, a fast and shifty runner, was back and ready to return it. The Punt Six from this year’s Michigan-Michigan State game had to hit Wolverines fans like a ton of bricks. The game appeared over as the Wolverines were punting from near midfield up four points with 10 seconds left. Unbelievably, the punt never happened as the Wolverines fumbled the snap and the Spartans’ Jalen Watts-Jackson returned it to house for the win as time expired. The game had enormous implications as it has effectively knocked Michigan out of the College Football Playoff hunt and a key reason why the Spartans remain in the mix.

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