That message? This is just another game, don’t provide the Spartans with any extra ammo or bulletin board material.
“To you it might be different,” Michigan junior wide out Devin Funchess said. “But you’re not in the past the same as me. It’s just another ball game and I’m blessed to play this ball game and it’s just another week here.”
At 3-4 and in desperate need of another win to keep bowl eligibility hopes strong, a win over the Spartans could also do a lot from a perception standpoint as the Wolverines look to rebound from a disastrous first half of the season.
“Every game is a momentum builder and if we can get every win that’ll send us in the right direction,” Michigan sophomore cornerback Jourdan Lewis said Tuesday.
“That was the point in the beginning of the season,” Lewis added. “It just didn’t work out our way. And now that’s an extra chip that we have on our shoulder so when we go in we have to give it our all.”
In Lewis’ first experience in the rivalry Michigan didn’t fare well in East Lansing in 2013, losing 29-6.
A Detroit native and someone that grew up watching the Michigan/Michigan State games every year, Lewis knows exactly what it takes to win a match-up of this magnitude.
“Grit, toughness, physicality,” Lewis said. “That’s the keys to victory. If you can do that, you’re going to win that game.”
In five of the last six seasons, Michigan State has taken the Paul Bunyan trophy with them into the locker room.
Spartans’ coach Mark Dantonio has made it no secret the emphasis he and his program have had on the Michigan game each and every year since his arrival in 2007.
Does Michigan State care more about this game than Michigan though?
“I don’t know what they think,” Funchess said. “I know what I think. I know what goes on in my head and I just feel like it’s another ball game to me.”
For Lewis, sure, he’s showing the same level of focus he does every practice and every game, but with a little bit more.
“We definitely have to prepare like it’s just another one of our games,” Lewis said. “But for me it is a big rivalry but we just have to step it up, and that’s every week. That’s probably what he was trying to say.”