The Gopher 13-0 win propelled Minnesota’s season into another Rose Bowl year. After its first loss of the season Michigan State added another loss the next week to Purdue dropping the Spartans to 3rd place for the rest of the year.
From November 5, 1961
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Inspired Minnesota, with slick quarterback Sandy Stephens directing a surprise unbalanced line attack and hurling a 23-yard touchdown pass, upset nationally top-ranked Michigan State, 13-0, in a crucial Big Ten football game Saturday.
Halfback Bill Munsey, benched by injury the past three games, scored both Gopher touchdowns, one on a lateral from Stephens and the other on the 23-yard payoff toss by Stephens.
The Gophers, stealing a page of the erstwhile unbeaten Spartans unveiled an unbalanced line for the first time this season and impressively punched over in the first and last quarters.
Michigan State, a seven point favorite and suffering its first defeat after five victories, could do no better than pierce to the Minnesota 5 in the first quarter. It was Michigan State's first shutout defeat in 26 games.
Minnesota scored the first time it had the ball an a 71 yard march in 11 plays. Munsey racing 8 yards around Michigan State's right end on a smooth lateral from Stephens.
With about four minutes of the game left, Stephens wheeled his touchdown pass to Munsey, who grabbed the ball just inside the back line of the end zone.
Michigan State, which previously had yielded only one touchdown and a total or 10 points in rolling over Wisconsin. Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame and Indiana, never seemed able to cope with the ferocity of Minnesota's defensive play and sharp offense when the chips were down.
The victory clearly stamped Minnesota, last year's national and Big Ten champion, regarded in pre-season reckoning as a conference also-ran, as a championship contender.
The Gophers, now victorious in five successive games since an opening 6-0 loss to Missouri in miserable weather, still have Iowa, Purdue anti Wisconsin to face.
In the regionally-televised game Michigan State actually was dead at halftime, following two long but unsuccessful first hall drives reaching Minnesota's 5 and 11 yard lines.
In the third period, the Spartans had the ball only for seven scrimmage plays, and in the fourth period they made a desperation drive to Minnesota's 2 minutes left. But here the brilliant Stephens intercepted a Spartan pass in the end zone for an automatic touchback.
Minnesota's fourth Big Ten victory without defeat put the Gophers in a tie for first place in the Big Ten race with Ohio State which scored a 29-13 victory over Iowa.