Embed from Getty Images For one quarter it looked like many past Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans football games. Rough, physical and draining. After the first quarter, the wheels fell off for the Spartans. Meanwhile Michigan was just getting warmed up.
It was the tail of two tapes. Michigan who suffered a questionable loss to Penn State has not looked like the same team since halftime of that game. Leaving many to wonder what was said in the looker room in Happy Valley? The Spartans fall from Big Ten power has been a sharp decline for at least two years now.
Yesterday at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Wolverines played like a bully waiting for it’s victim. Michigan was brutally physical, dynamic on offense, defense and special teams. What is more important, Michigan played fearlessly.
Michigan State played the role of the victim taken by surprise. The Spartans looked scattered, extremely reckless, and were clearly shaken. This beautiful rivalry has come full circle. Rivalries always do. Make no mistake about it, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh wanted to humiliate his in-state rival.
The 44-10 thumping the Spartans took came with deep intention and for Michigan implications, this is a win that grabs attention. Not just of the fan base, not just of the Spartans and the fan base in East Lansing, but the rest of the Big Ten.
At 8-2, Jim Harbaugh’s team is building something for the future. The rough transition from Josh Gattis’s new offense is now humming along. The switch in defensive philosophy from big defensive players to smaller quicker players has also paid high dividends.
For the Spartans and the man who has headed that program up for 14 years, after the game Mark Dantonio looked and sounded weary. Perhaps losing by 34 points, which happens to be the worst loss a Dantonio lead Spartan team has ever suffered, will do that to a person.
Jim Harbaugh, said he wanted the Wolverines to reclaim the in state rivalry and set that as priority one when he took over the Wolverines football program. He talked about how it would help in recruiting. Mission accomplished. Much like his days at Stanford, Harbaugh set the first target on the school that hampered recruiting. Then set a new target.
Now that Michigan has bullied the rivalry back from Michigan State, there is little question Harbaugh will now make another school top priority. That school is the one they play in two weeks. As I mentioned before, Harbaugh has a good history of making good on his vision for his program wherever he has been. It is safe to say he will do it again. Be it this season, next season or the one after that.