For the past decade, Michigan State has pretty much dominated Michigan when it comes to football, there is no arguing that.
Heading into Saturday, the Spartans had beaten the Wolverines in eight of the previous ten matchups and covered the point spread in all 10 of those games. To say the rivalry was one-sided would be an understatement.
But for the Spartans and their fans, it was never good enough.
Something has been missing
Despite constantly taking Michigan behind the woodshed, there was always the feeling that something was missing from the big game. For Michigan State, their annual game against Michigan has always been their biggest game of the season. It has always been the one game they wanted to win at all cost. After all, the Wolverines have always been their biggest rival and they always will be.
But for Michigan, that has never been the case and it has bothered the Spartans (and many of their fans) for a long time, though they probably will not admit it.
You see, the Spartans and their fan base have longed for the Wolverines to take them seriously. They have longed to be on the same level as Ohio State when it comes to Michigan’s rivals. But they have never been able to get to that point. In fact, despite their success vs. Michigan over the past decade, they have never even come close.
Now, that has changed.
The Spartans got their wish
On Saturday, Mark Dantonio and his Spartans attempted to intimidate the Wolverines before the game and it backfired. The Michigan State players came onto the field 10 minutes late (when is a football coach ever late?) and proceeded with their walk across the field, plowing right through some of the Wolverines’ players who were rightfully on the field warming up. This all happened while Dantonio followed along, smiling.
Those actions did nothing but fire up Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines even more than they already were and it motivated them to destroy the Spartans over the next four quarters of play, which they did.
Because of the Spartans pregame actions, a sleeping bear has been awoken
Michigan State may never get to the same level as Ohio State when it comes to Michigan’s biggest rival, but one thing is for certain, the Wolverines will take them seriously for now on.
And the Spartans will have to deal with that.
The pride came before the fall for Mark Dantonio’s Spartans in 21-7 loss to Michigan
Mark Dantonio is the master of using bulletin board material to help motivate his football team. In fact, I would be willing to bet he had a plethora of material that he presented to his team prior to their matchup on Saturday against their biggest rival, the Michigan Wolverines. One of his goals is to convince his players (and probably himself) that they are being unrightfully disrespected by their opponents on a weekly basis.
Who can blame Dantonio for using this strategy? After all, he has won multiple Big 10 titles, beat Michigan in 8 of the past 10 matchups heading into Saturday, and he even found a way to get the Spartans to a College Football Playoff.
But on Saturday, Dantonio made a huge mistake and his team would end up paying for it in a big way.
You see, during warmups, the Spartans were reportedly about 10 minutes late coming out onto the field. When the finally arrived, some of the Michigan players were already going through some of their own warmups around midfield.
This is when Spartans players got in a line and locked arms before beginning their 100-yard walk across the field. While they did this, Dantonio walked about five yards behind them.
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