Michigan State players were charged up after seeing Michigan players drive a stake into the turf at Spartan Stadium prior to their Big Ten game Saturday afternoon. That led to Michigan State making sure to put one final touchdown on the scoreboard before sending the Wolverines home with a loss.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was not happy about the behavior either, and he made that point clear with his postgame remarks. Dantonio fired some shots at the leadership of the Michigan football program, which led to Michigan head coach Brady Hoke offering an apology to Dantonio and Michigan State on Sunday.
“I want to publicly apologize to Coach Dantonio as well as the players and supporters of Michigan State for our act of poor sportsmanship displayed pre-game yesterday,” Hoke’s apology opened. “I spoke with Mark earlier today and expressed to him that we meant no disrespect to his team.”
Hoke explained the stake was a symbol for team unity, and he was unaware senior Joe Bolden, or some other player, took the stake out to the field. Bolden was seen driving the stake into the ground before kickoff as the Michigan players rallied around the action and stared down the Michigan State sideline.
“During our regular Friday night team meeting, one of the topics presented to motivate our team was a history lesson addressing commitment and teamwork in a tough environment,” Hoke explained. “A tent stake was presented to the team as a symbol of this concept. The stake was brought into our locker room as a visual reminder, and one of our team leaders chose to take it out on the field. As the leader of our football program, I take full responsibility for the actions of our team. We believe in displaying a high level of respect at the University of Michigan and unfortunately that was not reflected by this action prior to kickoff.”
This has been a tough season for Hoke and Michigan. Anything that can used to inspire a team to come together has to be a good thing. In this particular case, it backfired due to going too far and crossing an imaginary line and Michigan paid the price in the end.