Michigan Football: The one game that defined the season

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Because Michigan doesn’t play for another three weeks, we can look back and reflect on this awesome Michigan football season and some of the defining moments of the season.

Fans and media members are all split on what the defining moment of the season was for Michigan football. There are so many moments, so many memories, so how can we boil it down to just one moment or one game?

To quickly go through some games, fans and media have said the game against Wisconsin on the road is when they started believing. Michigan hadn’t won in Madison since 2001.

What about the game on the road at a desperate Nebraska squad in primetime? That game was the closest Michigan had come to defeat besides their actual defeat at the hands of the Spartans. Nebraska had the ball with a chance to win the game with two minutes left in the contest.

What about the road game at Penn State? Michigan had to overcome a deficit late in the game, and find a way to win? Erick All had to come up with a 47-yard touchdown on a bum ankle to will Michigan football to a victory.

Nope, none of those games takes the cake in my opinion.

Believe it or not, but Michigan’s loss to Michigan State was the defining game of the season. Yes, a loss, and not a win, was the defining moment of the season.

Why a loss was the defining moment for Michigan football

After Michigan lost to MSU (and in the way in which they lost) the Wolverines had to regroup and find a way to move forward.

Michigan’s seniors and captains led a players-only meeting the Monday after the game against MSU and laid out their plan to continue the season. Their message was simple: everything was still in front of them as long as Michigan took care of business the rest of the season.

Even Aidan Hutchinson, who spoke on the Rich Eisen show, said that the game changed the trajectory of the season.

“Just looking back at it, I think if we hadn’t lost that game, I don’t know that I’d be here today – a Big Ten champion,” Hutchinson said.

“It’s something that, I think, motivated our guys so much and we realized that if we lose another game, we don’t have a chance. We’re going to be out of the playoffs, we’re going to be out of the Big Ten championship. I think that was an eye-opener and a reality check for our team. I think it’s something that really pushed us to take that next level.”

If Michigan’s best player and senior captain is saying those things, then you best believe him. Only the players know exactly what goes on amongst their peers, and Aidan has a voice among the players in that locker room.

There were two ways that Michigan could’ve reacted to that loss. The Wolverines could’ve folded, and let the loss break them, and finish the season in disappointment, or they could get even hungrier, wash the bad taste out of their mouth, move on, and get better.

They chose the latter and it led to a Big Ten championship.

Losing to a rival is never fun, especially MSU, but any Michigan fan would take the loss to MSU any day of the week to win a Big Ten title and appear in the CFP.

I love how MSU fans are still trying to chirp, making snarky “37-33” comments like any Michigan player or fan cares.

Literally, nobody cares that MSU won anymore. Yes, MSU will have in-state bragging rights, good for them.

But Michigan football is in Miami competing for a national championship, while MSU is in Atlanta, about to potentially face a quarterback who will absolutely shred up Michigan State in Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett in the Peach Bowl.

Next. Michigan Football's top 10 bowl wins. dark

As the old saying goes, you tend to learn more in a loss than a win. That statement couldn’t be more true with this ‘21-22 Michigan football squad.