EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Once again, the Michigan-Michigan State game featured a last-second fumble return for a score.
This time, the Wolverines sideline went wild and it didn't change the outcome.
Jabrill Peppers returned a fumble on a Spartans two-point conversion try for two points, but it only put the finishing touches on a 32-23 Wolverines victory on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
"It was just icing on the cake," Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight said.
No. 2 Michigan was in control much of the way and the Spartans rallied too late to make a difference. Michigan claimed the Paul Bunyan trophy for just the second time in the last nine years.
The Spartans won the last three meetings, including their improbable 27-23 victory last season on Jalen Watts-Jackson's 38-yard fumble return after an aborted Michigan punt attempt on the game's last play.
"We came in here expecting to get it back," Speight said. "It wasn't a surprise."
De'Veon Smith had two rushing touchdowns and Amara Darboh piled up a career-high 165 receiving yards to lead the Wolverines. Peppers, a versatile two-way player, also scored a rushing touchdown for Michigan (8-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten), while Speight completed 16 of 25 pass attempts for 244 yards.
Darboh made six of his eight receptions in the first half, when Michigan established a 17-point lead.
"We were tested in all phases," Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We were sure that was going to be the case. Our guys made the plays throughout the ballgame. From start to finish, our guys made a few more plays. It was a good, tight game and it was good for our guys to be tested that way, and good for them to come through."
LJ Scott rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown for Michigan State (2-6, 0-5), which lost its sixth straight.
Spartans coach Mark Dantonio lamented some empty possessions that could have changed the outcome. Gerald Holmes was stopped for no gain on a 4th-and-1 from the Michigan 38 in the first half, and Scott was stoned four consecutive times in the third quarter inside the Wolverines' 5-yard line.
"I don't care what we draw up or what they draw up. You've got to be able to get one yard," he said. "Then later in the third quarter, first and goal from the 2, you've got to go for the touchdown."
Dantonio unnecessarily went for a two-point try when the Spartans scored with one second left, unwittingly giving Michigan a chance to score again when an errant pitch led to Peppers' return.
"Going to keep scratching for every inch, every point we can possibly get," Dantonio explained. "With one second left, we're going for two. At that point in time, we're probably losing the game. It's unfortunate it ended with a big celebration for them. That was certainly not the intent."
Michigan scored on all five of its first-half possessions and led 27-10 at halftime.
Scott gained a combined 61 yards on Michigan State's opening drive, including a 5-yard touchdown run. The Wolverines quickly responded with an 80-yard drive, which Peppers finished off when he took a direct snap and scored from three yards out.
Eddie McDoom's 33-yard run off a handoff from Peppers set up Michigan's next score, a 1-yard touchdown run by Smith.
Michael Geiger's career-long 52-yard field goal pulled the Spartans within four at 14-10. Kenny Allen's 23-yard field goal extended the Wolverines' lead to seven.
Michigan scored 10 points in the last minute of the half. Smith found the end zone on a 6-yard run up the middle with 39 seconds left.
Following a Jourdan Lewis interception, Allen kicked another 23-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Allen's 45-yard field goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter made it 30-10.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brian Lewerke, the third quarterback used by Dantonio, hit Monty Madaris with a 20-yard scoring strike midway through the fourth quarter.
Tyler O'Connor's 5-yard pass to Donnie Corley in the final second made it a seven-point game. Peppers then made his clinching fumble return.
NOTES: Michigan's last victory at East Lansing was 2007, a 28-24 triumph during coach Mark Dantonio first season with the Spartans. That was also the most recent season that the Wolverines won their first five Big Ten games. ... The Wolverines lead the all-time series 69-35-5. ... The last time the Spartans lost six straight was 1982, when they started the season 0-7. They forfeited all their wins in 1994 due to an academic scandal. ... Michigan was playing the 1,300th game in its 137-year history. It leads the NCAA with 933 all-time victories.