Sunday, July 12, 2020

Rivals not taking gridders for granted after previous loss

October 20, 2000

Apparently, the Michigan Wolverines (5-2 overall, 3-1 in the Big Ten) subscribe to Dick Vitale’s “You can throw out the records, baby!” theory on rivalry games.

The in-your-face college basketball analyst believes that in contests between intense rivals, previous records hardly matter.

Michigan appears to be buying into this exact approach.

Despite MSU’s 3-3, 0-3 record, Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr and his players believe the Spartans will present a tough challenge for the Wolverines.

“All I know is what I see on film, and Michigan State is the number one rated defense in the Big Ten Conference,” Carr said.

Wolverine players don’t plan on overlooking the Spartans, either.

“They are playing great offense and defense,” said senior offensive lineman Maurice Williams, seemingly forgetting MSU has only scored 26 points in the last two weeks. “They will be a great challenge for us.”

Last year, the Spartans toppled Michigan 34-31 at Spartan Stadium to win back the Paul Bunyan Trophy, which is given to the winner of the intrastate matchup. It was MSU’s first win against the Wolverines since 1995.

Williams said it’s hard to forget last year’s game.

“Almost every day we were reminded about the loss,” he said. “People are still talking about how Michigan State beat us up in their house.”

Larry Foote, a junior linebacker for Michigan, realizes what this game means in the state of Michigan.

“When I go home this summer I see a lot of the Michigan State guys at different camps,” said Foote, a Detroit Pershing High School graduate who has 31 tackles on the year, including seven for losses. “They talked a lot of trash last year. This state is split blue and green; when you lose that game it’s tough.”

Michigan senior offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson is reflective about playing against the Spartans for the last time.

“For the past couple of days I’d been thinking this is my last go-around with them (Michigan State),” Hutchinson said. “And having them at home this year for all the seniors, it will be special.”

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