The pre-game controversy started when Michigan junior linebacker Joe Bolden planted a spear right into Michigan State’s field in front of Michigan’s bench, and the Spartans’ took notice, and used the gesture as extra motivation in the lopsided victory.
"Them putting a spear in a field before the game is not a product of their team but their program," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said afterwards.
So when given the opportunity to run the clock out late in the fourth quarter or possibly take knee, Dantonio chose neither, and instead ordered his offense to move forward for their last score.
“I just[felt] like we needed to put up a stake in them at that point,” he said
And “the disrespect” of the spear was felt by the whole team, MSU quarterback Connor Cook said.
“We weren’t having that,” Cook said. “If we had the ball, we were trying to score.”
And score they did, as the Spartans dominated the game offensively, outgaining the Wolverines 446-186 in total yards.
However, Michigan coach Brady Hoke had no problem with the last touchdown by his in-state rivals, who have beat the Wolverines six out of the last seven times. And Hoke now owns a 1-3 record against MSU.
“They have a 11 guys out there, we have 11 guys out there,” Hoke said on MSU’s last score. “We’re trying to compete, they’re trying to compete. That’s what athletics is. That’s what competition is. So no [I don’t have a problem], not one bit.”
As far as the spear incident, Hoke wasn’t clear on his understanding of the situation.
“I think I was aware that something happened, but not fully aware,” Hoke said.
“I heard that a young man put a stake in the ground,” Hoke said, when asked to clarify who put the stake in the ground.
“I think it was Joe.”