U-M drove stake in ground of Spartan Stadium before game, gave MSU football extra motivation for final touchdown drive
No. 8 MSU (7-1 overall, 4-0 Big Ten) put a stake in the heart of Michigan (3-5 overall, 1-3 Big Ten) by winning 35-11 Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
It was a different stake, however, that grabbed the attention of players and coaches before the game. According to MSU players and head coach Mark Dantonio, when U-M entered the field before kickoff they put a stake in the ground around the 35 yard line.
“You might as well come out and say what you feel at some point,” Dantonio said. “The little brother stuff, all the disrespect, it doesn’t have to go in that direction.”
Some players were able to use the stake as motivation, while others were able to laugh it off.
Junior quarterback Connor Cook was not one of the guys able to laugh it off. He said part of the reason MSU went for a touchdown on their final drive was because of the stake incident.
“We saw them run out and stick a dagger on our grass,” he said. “We weren’t going to be having that.”
Junior cornerback Trae Waynes said he was able to laugh it off.
“Back home we have a cross town rivalry as well,” he said. “They act the same way. It’s Michigan, it’s what you expect from them.”
Senior receiver Tony Lippett had a big day by catching three passes for 103 yards and one touchdown. He said the stake in the ground helped light MSU’s fire.
“We just went out there and played,” he said. “We said, it’s personal now.”
Lippett said that wasn’t the entire reason why MSU went for the touchdown on their final drive. He said they were trying to finish the game strongly on offense.
“We’re just trying to play a complete game,” he said. “If the opportunity is there we are going to take it.”
Mark Dantonio said he wanted to finish off U-M and that was why they went for the touchdown.
“I felt like we needed to pop one,” he said. “I felt like we needed to drive a stake through them.”