EAST LANSING, Mich. —In the days leading up to Michigan’s in-state rivalry game with Michigan State, there was all kinds of talk from both sides that it had become something of a respectful rivalry.
Well, not so much anymore.
In case you missed it, the scenario that happened (as partially witnessed firsthand) was that Michigan was on the field warming up, per usual, after having arrived at the stadium. Per a U-M spokesman, MSU arrived at the stadium 10 minutes late, and Michigan wasn’t cleared from the field by event staff — the Wolverines were allowed to be on the field. But, the Spartans, wearing helmets, unlike usual, linked arms in the one endzone, and marched down the field to the other endzone — despite there being Michigan players still on the field.
The result? Lawrence Marshall clotheslined. Lavert Hill’s headphones ripped off.
Michigan LB Devin Bush Jr., a team captain, felt disrespected and immediately retaliated in the aftermath.
Well, that proverbial hashtag-disrespekt went the other way.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was none to pleased when he heard about the incident from a team spokesman — who witnessed the entire thing. After the game, he notes that MSU head coach Mark Dantonio was out on the field, and not only did nothing to stop it, but that he seemingly enjoyed it.
Thus, Harbaugh condemned the situation, but said he likes how his team stood tall despite the pregame shenanigans.
“I just heard about it — I didn’t see it,” Harbaugh said. “Apparently (our players) were clotheslined. (MSU) guys came out in their helmets. Lawrence Marshall — they just went up and clotheslined him. Old-fashioned clotheslined him. One of their guys ripped off Lavert’s headphones. Total bush league.
“Apparently Coach Dantonio was 5 yards behind them all smiling. I think it’s bush league — that’s my impression of it.
“But, our guys — they didn’t come here to back down or be intimidated by anybody. We never have in this game, and guys did what they had to do. Will be a happy bus ride back home.”
So after all the talk about the rivalry being respectful, what are Harbaugh’s feelings after Saturday?
Asked if he still has the same kind of respect for Dantonio he had coming in, Harbaugh repeated that he was disrespected in-kind.
“Yeah, I didn’t think that was real respectful,” Harbaugh said. “You know my feelings on it. I think it’s bush league. I don’t really have much else to say about it.”
However, that’s not the way that Dantonio sees it, according to Detroit News MSU beat writer Matt Charbonneau.