Character develops in life through experience.
When it comes to the Michigan Wolverines of 2018, they’re at the point where enough games have went by for them to know who they are.
They don’t give a damn what you think about them.
If someone trash talks them, they won’t curl up into a ball, they’ll respond with force.
Michigan had a dominant showing against Wisconsin at The Big House.
But a week later, what transpired in East Lansing on Saturday afternoon, showed everything necessary to proclaim Michigan as a team that won’t back down from any challenge.
Michigan State tried to use a show of force before the game. Head coach Mark Dantonio was walking behind his players, who formed a human chain and clotheslined some of Michigan’s players. Dantonio was clearly caught smiling on video as a brawl nearly broke out.
Tape speaks for itself (see right side of screen). pic.twitter.com/WXLVhEL15m— Sean Yuille (@SeanYuille) October 20, 2018
This led to Devin Bush giving MSU the proverbial middle finger by doing this.
These guys do NOT like each other. Not a great move by Devin Bush. pic.twitter.com/tZDMVUWpR3— Jamie Edmonds (@Jamie_Edmonds) October 20, 2018
After the game, there were no apologies, no regrets from Michigan players or coaches. In fact, Harbaugh was mad at MSU for creating that situation.
“Apparently they clotheslined two of our guys, came out in their helmets. Lawrence Marshall, they went up and clotheslined him, the old fashioned clothesline,” Harbaugh said. “Other guys ripped off Lavert’s (Hill) headphones. Total bush league. Apparently coach Dantonio was five yards behind them behind it all smiling, so yeah, I think it’s bush league, that’s my impression of it.”
When Dantonio was told about this accusation, he said it was “B.S.”, but the thing is, it wasn’t B.S., the video shows Dantonio doing exactly what Harbaugh described.
The bottom line is Michigan players were never told to get off the field, MSU was late arriving to the field, the small number of Michigan players had every right to keep warming up as they were.
In a sport where there’s an abundance of alpha males, the Michigan players had a choice:
- Get off the field as a human chain marches towards them like an army
- Stand their ground and show they aren’t scared of anybody or anything
When looking at the video below, what choice should they have made? Which choice would they regret more?
Already some pushing, shoving and yelling. Michigan players didn't get out of the way for MSU walk. Devin Bush screaming in Spartans' faces as they run back to locker room after this. Bush in yellow. pic.twitter.com/Us9GWyVQch— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) October 20, 2018
“They didn’t come here to back down or get intimidated by anybody,” Harbaugh said.
We talk about “statement games” and teams making a statement. This was a statement. One heard loud and clear by MSU. From Michigan’s perspective, if you disrespect them, expect no respect back.
After the game, defensive end Chase Winovich threw more gas on the flames, calling MSU little brother.
Any regrets, Chase? You sorry for saying that when you were caught in the moment?
I’d like to take this moment to apologize... FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Go Blue!— Chase Winovich (@Chase_Winovich) October 20, 2018
No apologies, just animosity.
This isn’t a Michigan team spiking the football after a win, this is just who they are.
To Michigan’s credit, they weren’t chippy the days before the game. Players and coaches who spoke to the media said nothing disparaging about MSU. But that changed after the pre-game fireworks.
“We were motivated from the start,” running back Karan Higdon said. “We knew they’ve been talking trash all week. We stayed quiet, stayed in our space. And we knew what it was gonna be. And we got here, and we just elevated our enthusiasm.”
That’s one way to say it. They certainly elevated their enthusiasm.
“We came here, they were talking trash. When the whistle blew, there was nothing they could do. And we won.”
This team takes trash talk personal, and to this point in the season it has elevated their play when they’re ridiculed and threatened.
Nick Baumgardner made a good point on Twitter:
Four years ago Brady Hoke issued a public apology after Michigan drove a tent stake into the Spartan Stadium grass.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) October 20, 2018
On Saturday, Jim Harbaugh called MSU "bush league" after further sod damage was done.
Things change, eh?
Things do change.
Harbaugh subscribes to the you reap what you sew mantra, and that was on full display yesterday.
Michigan celebrates right on the logo pic.twitter.com/YwpqoONGky— Max Marcovitch (@Max_Marcovitch) October 20, 2018
Michigan isn’t kicking perceived bullies when they’re down, they’re stomping on their throats, they are putting the dagger in. And if opponents don’t like it, they can either stop them or just stop trying to intimidate them in a goofy manner.
Winovich isn’t apologizing, Bush doesn’t regret what he did, and Harbaugh wouldn’t have it any other way. Look at how happy he is in the video above.
Harbaugh and Michigan are going to keep on holding other programs accountable when they feel something “bush league” is done or said towards them. And they’re going to have a blast doing so... if they keep winning.
As it stands today, as we will continue to see in the days to come, Michigan and Jim Harbaugh bow to no man. The events in East Lansing served as a notice to all upcoming opponents.