On October 9, 1971, Michigan State lost Michigan, 24–13, in front of 80,093 spectators, the largest crowd to that time in the history of Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. Billy Taylor rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Tom Slade started his first game at quarterback, completed three of nine passes for 45 yards, and rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown. With Michigan State athletic director Biggie Munn in critical condition following a stroke, the Spartans kept the came close. Michigan State trailed 10–7 late in the third quarter and had the ball at Michigan's 14-yard line. At that point, Michigan's Butch Carpenter forced a fumble that was recovered by Mike Keller. The Wolverines then sealed the game with a two-yard touchdown run by Taylor and a seven-yard touchdown run by Slade. Michigan kicker Dana Coin converted three point after touchdown attempts and kicked a 27-yard field goal.