At least, that is what Spartans senior defensive end Marcus Rush said Tuesday. With that year-long build up, it is only natural the game gets a little bit nastier in the trenches than some others.
”It gets pretty nasty in there,” Rush said. “Both teams are in Michigan, they don't like each other. We respect each other but we don't like each other, so things happen. You get a little feisty as a D-line or O-line, and that's a given in football.”
In recent years, the rivalry has seen its share of physical moments.
In 2011, Michigan State was flagged for multiple personal fouls and defensive end Will Gholston was ejected after throwing a punch. Following the game, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said the Spartans were trying to play “60 minutes of unnecessary roughness” and the Wolverines left admitting they were bullied.
A season ago, Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan had blood running down his face in 2013 and was involved in some chirping before halftime.
Senior offensive lineman Travis Jackson referred to the game as a “slobberknocker,” while senior linebacker Taiwan Jones said it is a “blood bath” and quarterback Connor Cook said the hits are always a little bit bigger when the Spartans meet the Wolverines.
”There is pushing and shoving after the whistle, but the energy is just always that much more in this game,” Cook said.
Defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who was part of the physical performance from the Michigan State defense last year, said it is attributed to the passion of the game as teams try to get the edge and win.
”It's a rivalry game, so there is going to be a lot of passion,” Calhoun said. “On offense and defense we're both looking for those inches.
”So by any means we're trying to get those inches.”