The 2018 Michigan-Michigan State game is one that will always be remembered in rivalry history — for something that happened before the game even started.
Michigan players were on the field of Spartan Stadium with headphones during their morning walkthrough when a group of Michigan State players (with helmets on) formed a human chain and walked right into Michigan players. The Michigan State players made contact with Michigan players, and things escalated quickly.
#Michigan spokesman says MSU players were 10 minutes late to the field for their march, “close lined” Lawrence Marshall and ripped the head phones off Lavert Hill.— Aaron McMann (@AaronMcMann) October 20, 2018
Michigan linebacker, one of the biggest leaders on the team and an eventual first round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, took exception to this show of force by Michigan State.
Bush stomped on the Michigan State logo at midfield and scuffed the heck out of it with his cleats.
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
This event was brought up on the HUTCH podcast, featuring former Michigan edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson, hosted by PFF’s Austin Gayle, and produced by Dave Sulfaro.
“Dude, that moment is legendary. I mean, only played one snap that 2018 Michigan-Michigan State game. But we didn’t really see it. I wasn’t out there pregame, so I didn’t really see it, but you check your phone game to change some music, and I get this ESPN update that says, ‘Devin Bush, blah, blah, blah’ and I click on it, and I’m like, ‘did he just do that, in a rivalry game?’ You know how much pressure that adds? If we don’t win this game, we’re going to get trolled,” Hutchinson joked. “I was watching it on my phone and was like, ‘we’ve got to win this damn game.’ We ended up holding them to under 100 yards of total offense, so I think we earned that one.”
Michigan would win the game 21-7, Michigan State had just 94 yards of total offense. Head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game that Michigan “didn’t come here to back down or get intimidated by anybody”.
“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 in 2018. “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.”
While Bush’s actions were certainly escalatory, it set a tone before kickoff that Michigan wasn’t going to get bullied. Hutchinson acknowledged it made the win even sweeter, because the narrative would have been a whole lot different if Bush stomped on the logo and the Spartans were the team that won.
“No one was really talking about it, because pregame, everyone is really locked in. But when you see this stuff, it hadn’t really been addressed. But after the game, we all were laughing about it, and it’s fun when you win,” Hutchinson said. “But if we were to lose that game, the conversations would definitely be different.”
Well, Michigan won, and Bush is now a Michigan legend.