by Bre Moore

Michigan State edged Michigan 28-26 in the inaugural Special Olympics Unified Rivalry series flag football game.

This year's Michigan versus Michigan State college football game in Ann Arbor saw one of the most thrilling and improbable finishes in college football history, but another game that played out the night before in East Lansing was just as memorable for all those involved.

Nearly 30 college students from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan teamed up with Special Olympics athletes to play the first Special Olympics Rivalry Series flag football game in the country on Friday, October 16.

The pregame festivities included the National Anthem and Special Olympics Athlete Oath performed by Special Olympics athletes from both teams. Michigan State jumped out to an early lead, but the Wolverines had plenty of fight left in them.

Trailing by eight points with just 15 seconds left in the game, UofM went the length of the football field to score a touchdown as time expired, cutting the Spartans' lead to 28-26. However, the Wolverines would come up just shy on the two-point conversion attempt as Michigan State prevailed with the thrilling 28-26 win.

Although the game was close in score and had many remarkable plays, the evening was bigger than the game itself.

"The highlight of the game was watching the athletes and volunteers work together. Each team demonstrated improvement throughout the game and the sportsmanship by each team was truly impressive," explains UofM Coach Bobby Schwartz.

The Michigan versus Michigan State Unified game was the first of nine games in the Special Olympics Unified Rivalry Series happening this season. Thanks to positive feedback from both the players and large crowd in attendance, it looks promising that this is just start of another great tradition between these two longtime rivals.