By Ashley Dunkak
Michigan State got the last word in the “little brother” conversation Saturday.
Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint talked the talk several days before the rivalry matchup, but linebacker Denicos Allen waited until after a 29-6 win by the Spartans to comment.
“I think [Toussaint] just do it for attention,” Allen said. “We really don’t care too much about that because when we get on the field, it’s us versus them. You can call us what you want, call us little brother, big brother, but when it’s on the field, we show who’s the big brother, who’s the little brother.”
Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio, who is in his second stint at Michigan State and also coached at Ohio State, does not hide his disdain for Michigan. He made it a point, though, to have players ignore trash talk and refrain from jawing during the week leading up to the game.
“Talked about week about, to be honest with you, keeping the lion in the cage, just peaking at game time,” Dantonio said. “Don’t worry about those things that are being said. Just keep your mouth shut, get ready to play, start the game and finish stronger than when you started. We were going to let the lion out of the cage at 3:30, and that’s what happened.”
“We just tried to stay out of all the issues with the UM, Michigan State rivalry, all that stuff and all the talk, and I thought for the most part it was a pretty clean-played game, so that was a positive to see,” Dantonio added.
Players jawed back and forth throughout the game, and there were several personal fouls, but overall the animosity appeared to stay minimal.
Like Allen, though, Dantonio clearly took pride in the victory, Michigan State’s fifth win over the Wolverines in the past six years. The 23-point margin of victory is the largest for the Spartans since they defeated Michigan 34-0 in 1967.
Dantonio also seemed thrilled the win came on the home field for Michigan State.
“Our crowd came to play today,” Dantonio said. “It was deafening down there. You couldn’t hear.
“Almost tweeted out today, ‘Rise up Spartan Nation,’” Dantonio added. “Instead I just think I’ll tweet after the game, ‘Walk the streets.’”
Later on, Dantonio did exactly that.
Rise up Spartan Nation! Walk the streets! Go Green #MSUvsUM
— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) November 3, 2013
Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook credited the team’s defense as well as the offense’s resilience, and he predicted an impressive finish to the season if both units continue to perform well.
“Our defense has set the tone all year, and if they continue to set the tone, and if our offense keeps building on our past performances, I think we’ll run the table,” Cook said. “But we’ve just got to focus one week at a time, one team at a time, focus on that and I think we’ll be good.”