Classless. Disrespectful. Mockery. Arrogant.
Those are the words used by the MSU football team to describe how Michigan acted following its 28-24 victory at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
After the game, U-M players gathered midfield for a moment of silence, intended to mock MSU head coach Mark Dantonio’s comment about U-M’s loss to Appalachian State. When asked about that loss in a radio interview earlier in the season, Dantonio joked about having a “moment of silence” for the Wolverines.
“I find a lot of the things they do amusing,” Dantonio said at his Monday press conference. “They need to check themselves sometimes.”
This was not the mild-mannered Dantonio that has shown up to every other weekly press conference of the season.
“Can you tell my tone?” Dantonio asked reporters.
He responded to the postgame comments made by U-M running back Mike Hart, who laughed while calling the Spartans U-M’s “little brother.”
“Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball, and you let him get the lead,” Hart said Saturday after the game, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Then you come back and take it back.”
Dantonio questioned the ability of the 5-foot-9 running back to even have a “little brother.”
“Does Hart have a little brother? Or is he the little brother?” Dantonio said, measuring midway up his chest with his hand. “I don’t know.”
Dantonio also responded to Hart’s claim that he “thought it was funny” when MSU took the lead in the second half.
“Go back and watch their sideline,” he said, referring to when MSU had the lead. “I didn’t see anybody laughing over there.”
Up until this point, if anyone on the Spartan football team hasn’t taken this rivalry personally, they do now, junior quarterback Brian Hoyer said.
He said Hart’s comments “just show the classlessness” that he has.
“Sooner or later the little brother, (if) you want to put us that way, you get pushed around enough, the little brother fights back and kicks the other brother’s ass,” Hoyer said Monday.
“After you make a comment like that, we don’t really feel you deserve to win that game. And I’m sure they walked away feeling a little bit lucky coming out of it, too.”
During the interview, Dantonio said he’d rather not comment on Hart’s remarks. But after a brief pause, he let it out.
“I guess I can’t help myself,” Dantonio said. “As I said earlier, it’s not over. I’m going to be a coach here for a long time. It’s not over, it’s just starting.”
Dantonio said his passion for this rivalry has been ingrained in him since he was a defensive backs coach at MSU in 1995.
“It exists in me, and it exists in everybody who is a true Spartan,” he said. “Not the ones who give their donor seats to the Michigan Wolverines. It exists in everything. It’s there.”
While the rivalry sinks deep beneath the skin for Dantonio, many Wolverines downplay the matchup. But senior running back Jehuu Caulcrick said “you would be a fool” to not consider U-M vs. MSU a rivalry game.
“Before the game, people were saying Michigan doesn’t consider us a rivalry,” Caulcrick said. “They were out there celebrating like they won the championship themselves. Don’t let them fool you.”