GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the 115th time, the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans will meet on the football field to determine who gets bragging rights for a year, as well as a four-foot-tall wooden lumberjack.
A lot of pressure falls upon the players and coaches during the matchup. So, to get an inside look into what this game means, News 8’s Jack Doles talked to two men who have plenty of experience with the rivalry.
Former Spartan linebacker Ty Hallock and former Wolverine tight end Jay Riemersma agreed that this is one of the biggest games for both programs every year.
“This is one of those games that is a red letter game for both sides,” Riemersma said. “You gotta have state’s rights, you gotta have that win on Saturday afternoon and this is a big game for both clubs.”
“When you think about the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry and what it’s been, particularly in the last 20 years, I mean it’s a great, great game,” Hallock said. “I think it means a lot to a lot of people.”
The Wolverines (7-0) come into the game more than a three-touchdown favorite over the Spartans (3-4) thanks largely to running back and Heisman hopeful Blake Corum, who has 13 touchdowns in just seven games so far.
The other component of the lopsided spread is that the game will be played in Ann Arbor, but that hasn’t stopped Michigan State from pulling off the upset. Just two years ago, the Spartans traveled to the Big House and beat the Wolverines 27-24.
If Michigan State wants to have a shot at winning again, Hallock says that the team must stop Corum and the running game while also taking in the rivalry and rising to the occasion.
In his six meetings against Michigan State, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is just 3-3 in those games and has dropped the last two. If Michigan is to snap that streak, Riemersma says the gameplan is simple: Give the ball to Corum, don’t turn the ball over and rely on that dominant defense.
Michigan leads the all-time series 71-38-5. The 115th edition is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. under the lights at Michigan Stadium.