MSU played like champions. Michigan didn’t. And the Paul Bunyan Trophy continues to be an East Lansing resident for the third year running.
The curse of Mike Hart. November 3, 2007 after Michigan came back to win 28-24 at Spartan Stadium, Mike Hart made his imfamous “little brother” statement:
I’m not saying Hart is a bad guy or a big jerk or anything like that. I am saying that Michigan always blows hard to the point of arrogance. This is a pretty good example. And maybe they have the right to feel superior. They are the winningest team in NCAA football history. They have dominated the series with MSU 52-28-4 going back to 1918 (although they first matched up in 1869). They seem to have the popular vote within the state of Michigan and on a national level. Mike Hart made his comment because he believed it.
First year Coach Mark Dantonio’s response was pretty great, I thought:
Well Mr. Hart, I bet you wish you had said something else. Maybe just congratulated MSU on a great game and thanked the Lord for a comeback victory. Since that November Day, Michigan hasn’t beat Michigan State in Football (or Basketball for that matter). SImply put, Michigan can’t seem to win anymore. I think you cursed the Wolverines.
Enough about all that, I’m just having some fun. Enjoying the moment, if you will.
How about the Spartans!!! They rolled in to Ann Arbor to play in front of a hostile 113,000+ packed Big House, and delivered.
It was total control. It was total balance. It was a really great Spartan performance.
- 249 yards rushing including three rushing TDs by three different running backs: Baker, Bell and Caper
- 19-26 completions for 287 yards by Kirk Cousins
- Zero turn-overs: no interceptions, one fumble which MSU recovered
- Three Denard Robinson interceptions
- Held Robinson from breaking big plays
It would be an overstatement to say MSU shut down Denard Robinson, but they did severely limit him. Robinson turned in what I would call regular-good QB stats for a Big Ten quarterback. Not amazing as he had done all season, just a good game for a regular Big Ten QB. And against the TD Machine that he is, that is a huge MSU success. And now the world knows that Michigan can be stopped. You slow down Robinson and you can win.
It was great to see Coach D back in the action, albeit from the coach’s box. He looked good and feisty as ever. What a testament to his leadership and staff that the Spartans have continued to improve and win under these circumstances.
MSU faces the Fighting Illini next week in East Lansing. 3-2 Illinois is no slouch and the Spartans will need to move past the Michigan win and quickly change focus to the next challenger. Illinois may not have the most productive offense, but they have a tough defense that work to keep the score low – kind of the opposite of Michigan really.
In the Big Ten, it’s Ohio State and MSU leading the conference with identical 6-0 (2-0) records. Iowa (4-1) and Purdue (3-2) are both 1-0 in conference play. OSU should be the number 1 team in the nation when the rankings come out later today, which is awesome for the Buckeyes and for the Big Ten. It will be interesting to see where #17 MSU ranks for the coming week, and where #18 Michigan ranks. I don’t think we will see any movement for Iowa (bye week) or Wisconsin (beat 1-5 Minnesota).
Finally, let’s hear it for Notre Dame who beat Pitt to get back to even (3-3). Coach Kelly is struggling a bit in his first season leading the Irish, but I wish him well and expect that we’ll see continual progress as this fabled programs works towards regaining it’s elite status.
Okay Spartans, great work this week but eyes on Illinois. GO GREEN!!!