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You know an event is one for the ages when everyone can tell you where they were at that moment.
Ten years from now, a quarter-million people might tell you they were in Michigan Stadium on Oct. 17, 2015.
We know the Michigan State Spartans were there. Mark Dantonio’s soon-to-be Big Ten champions came to Ann Arbor to play 60 minutes of football. And his “Rangers” special-forces punt-block unit knew how to tell time — with a play for all time.
The Perfect :10 is your opportunity to meet them, all 11 of them: Zac Leimbach, Monty Madaris, Matt Macksood, Matt Morrissey, Grayson Miller, Andrew Dowell, T.J. Harrell, Khari Willis, Brandon Sowards, Jermaine Edmondson and, of course, Jalen Watts-Jackson, a name that will live in Spartan lore like that of King Leonidas.
It’s also a chance to see why the outcome matters so much to so many people. Or should. When Dantonio says, “It’s an important game,” he might as well add, “The sun is hot. And it sets in the West.”
Michigan State University and the University of Michigan have a complicated relationship that stretches back to 1850, with football games since 1898. For nearly half that span, the Wolverines were almost always the hosts and heavy favorites. But nothing is guaranteed, as their punt team and millions of stunned fans were reminded.
Finally, The Perfect :10 is a lasting tribute to the human spirit and proof that perseverance pays dividends. So does preparation.
So prepare to be taken back in time. Prepare to relive a rivalry, an era, a season, a day and a play you can try to explain to your grandchildren. With smiles if you’re green, with tears if you’re blue.
Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated says this about The Perfect :10: “If you want to read about the best job any college coach has done in the last two decades, the most amazing play in one of college football’s great rivalries, and one of the best seasons in Michigan State history, skillfully told by two journalists who know the story better than anybody, then this book is for you. If you’d rather read something boring, then hey, that’s your problem.”
The Perfect :10, 284 pages, including a Foreword by play-by-play icon George Blaha and 31 special photos by Matthew Mitchell. The price is $29.95 for the hardbound edition or $19.95 in paperback.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
JACK EBLING is the host of “The Drive with Jack” on radio and “Press Pass” on television. A Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 2006, he spent 25 years at the Lansing State Journal and has written eight books, six on Michigan State athletics. Jack has been at every MSU-Michigan football game since 1969, 47-and-counting.
JOE REXRODE is sports columnist at the Nashville Tennessean after 13 years on the Michigan State beat, four at the Detroit Free Press and nine at the Lansing State Journal. He got his start at the LSJ as a stringer, helping Jack Ebling cover MSU’s 2000 men’s basketball national championship. He has written two books, both about MSU football.