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Michigan, Michigan State athletic directors issue joint statement regarding night game

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The two athletic directors teamed up to release a statement regarding this weekend’s rivalry game

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel and Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis released a joint message two days prior to kickoff of the Michigan-Michigan State primetime matchup (7:30 p.m., ABC).

They start off by saying the 110th meeting between the two programs will be the first time they kickoff under the lights in a primetime game.

You probably had the same feeling as I did where this statement was going.

“With the kick-off in primetime, both schools will share the national spotlight. After the game, each facet will be dissected and analyzed by many. Let’s make sure the analysis is about the game.”

In other words: Don’t make headlines after the game for stupidity. Don’t burn stuff, don’t hurt people, just be civil people.

Issuing something like this is not surprising, and I’m glad it was done. We all know how Michigan’s fan base can get for game days, but Michigan State has some crazies, too. Every fan base does.

The Paul Bunyan Trophy is meaningful for both sides, but it should not be so important that violence, belligerence or making people feel unwelcome get in the way of experiencing a great rivalry together. I expect to feel welcome when I travel to Wisconsin in November for the game, and I hope Spartan fans feel the same way.

Plus, if things go well maybe we can have another Paul Bunyan Trophy night game next season and for years to come. But for that to happen, this test run Saturday has to pass with flying colors.

Preferably Maize and Blue colors.