For obvious reasons, it’s only Michigan State week for the Wolverines, who are looking to upset the 17-point favorite Spartans this Saturday.
Hoke said: "Number one, thanks for coming; this is an exciting week. The bye week was good for us; it's a benefit to get some guys healthy. There are bumps and bruises. We have been at it since August and we are pretty competitive and pretty physical in what we do. So four weeks of camp and seven straight weeks, it came at the right time. We were able to rest some guys, and I think that is a big part of it, and at the same time we were able to get some guys who were right on that line, depending on how you get beat up or bumped along, you may have some other guys that have to get in there and represent.
“This is a great rivalry and a great rivalry in a lot of ways. We have two great rivalries, but the passion on both sides of either green and white or maize and blue, I think that passion you see, you hear, and you feel. We are playing the defending Big Ten champs, who deserved that and have played very good football during the year on both sides of the ball. Going out to Eugene (Oregon) is their only loss, and that is a difficult place to play. You are three time zones different, and you are also playing in a pretty hostile stadium that can get very loud. I think offensively, Michigan State is very balanced. I think knowing Mark (Dantonio), I think he would feel very good about what they are doing from that balance standpoint. I think Connor Cook continues to impress and improve.
“You look at (Jeremy) Langford and how he has improved, and Nick Hill has emerged too, back there in the backfield. Tony Lippett has played like the best receiver in this conference. I think when you see the big plays in big games that he has made. Turnover margin, we are two in the opposite spectrums. They are plus 11, and we are minus 13. Turnover margin in pro football, college football, high school football, peewee football, whatever football there is out there, is a big part of who wins and who loses. Obviously, we have to do a better job creating.
“The last two weeks, we have done a better job of taking care of the football, but that has to continue. As far as the bye, we got out Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, had a practice last night, which was a Tuesday practice for us. It was very good and very physical. It was good to get out there again. We liked the timing because that is one thing you always worry about. I thought our timing was sharp, and I thought the execution on both sides of the ball was pretty good. We have a long way to go, though.”
Michigan (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) plays at No. 8 MSU (6-1, 3-0) this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.