Minnesota is preparing to take on Michigan State this week, immediately after the Spartans pulled off a hard-fought road win against Michigan last week. The win by the Spartans seemed to catch many off guard considering last year’s struggles and the rise of the Wolverines under head coach Jim Harbaugh. But Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck wasn’t surprised at all.
Asked about the win by Michigan State last week, Fleck said he was not surprised at all by the Spartans victory in Michigan Stadium. Fleck went a step further to suggest it would be more shocking if Michigan managed to beat Michigan State instead.
“I think they beat them eight out of the last 10 times, so I don’t think you would be surprised at all,” Fleck said when asked if he was surprised by the result. “I think it almost be the other way, if Michigan beats Michigan State you should be surprised.”
Saturday’s 14-10 win was indeed Michigan State’s eighth win in the last 10 meetings with Michigan, so Fleck is well aware of the recent history between two Big Ten rivals. And Fleck’s remarks may have had dual purposes attached to them as well. On the one hand, Fleck is offering some praise for his next opponent by stressing his lack of surprise over the Spartans winning. On the other, by suggesting it was no surprise Michigan State won, he is taking a bit of a jab at Michigan as well.
Fleck coached Western Michigan to an undefeated regular season last year, but that largely was overshadowed by Michigan’s own run to an undefeated regular season until November. So he knows a thing or two about the state of college football in the state of Michigan. He also knows that anything that pecks away at Harbaugh and the Wolverines could bode well for him and his program at Minnesota. Fleck is known to find every possible recruiting angle he can use to his advantage, and chipping away at Michigan whenever the opportunity arises should be exploited by Fleck as he looks to build the Gophers into a Big Ten contender.
Fleck and Minnesota will get their chance to measure up against Michigan later this season. The Gophers visit Ann Arbor on November 4. Don’t be surprised if this comment is revisited in a few weeks.
Could it be much ado about nothing?
With starter JT Daniels in concussion protocol and his backup, Matt Fink, nursing three broken ribs, it was appearing somewhat likely that USC would be forced to turn the offense over to No. 3 quarterback Jack Sears. According to one report, however, the redshirt freshman may not be needed this weekend after all — at least to start with.
Obviously, the Trojans’ quarterback situation/predicament will be fluid throughout the rest of the week leading up to the Week 9 matchup with Arizona State this Saturday and possibly not decided until we get closer to kickoff.
Daniels, the true freshman who has started every game this season, suffered his head injury in the loss to Utah this past Saturday. Fink injured his ribs in the same game.
Sears, meanwhile, has not attempted a pass in his collegiate career.
The most recent public pissing match between a pair of in-state rivals shows no sign of abating anytime soon. At all.
In response to that statement, U-M athletic director Warde Manuel released his own statement Monday night. In it, Manuel began by writing about a pregame conversation with his MSU counterpart, Bill Beekman, that he preferred to keep private. To end it, Manual not-so-discreetly declared “SCOREBOARD!” on his rivals.
“It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played and,” wait for it… “the final result.”
Well played, Mr. Manuel. Well played.
I had a conversation on the field with Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman prior to the game regarding the situation that occurred during pregame warmups. My preference is to keep that conversation and any further discussions between us. I will work with our staff and the conference to see how this situation can be prevented from happening in the future. It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played, and the final result.
TCU wide receiver/kickoff returner KaVontae Turpin was suspended Monday after he was arrested for allegedly dragging his girlfriend across a parking lot and slamming to the ground at an apartment complex in Fort Worth on Saturday night.
“Texas Christian University is aware that one of its students was recently arrested for a reported domestic situation,” the university said in a statement. “The university takes these types of reports very seriously and is continuing to gather information to determine next steps. TCU expects its students to behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law.”
But it appears that isn’t all.
Turpin failed to appear at a July 16 pre-trial hearing and is now subject to a bench warrant by the Las Cruces Magistrate Court.
If convicted, Turpin would face up to six months in prison for battery of a household member. He entered not guilty please to battery of a household member and criminal damage to the property of a household member under $1,000.
Now more than two days after it happened, the (don’t call it a -gate, don’t call it a -gate) field altercation before the Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday continues to live.
Jim Harbaugh addressed the controversy on Monday, this time taking a personal shot across the bow at Mark Dantonio. “I’ll go one step further and use Coach Dantonio’s words from a few years back,” Harbaugh said. “‘It’s not a product of the team, but their program.’ Again, that’s using his words. That could’ve been an unfortunate deal. I’m proud of our guys for keeping their cool.”
To recap: During the Spartans’ traditional arm-in-arm walk across the field before the game, Michigan players came away accusing Michigan State of clotheslining defensive lineman Lawrence Marshall and ripping the headphones out of defensive back Lavert Hill‘s ears.
Which led to linebacker Devin Bush tearing up the Spartans’ midfield logo.
On Monday, Michigan State released a statement that basically amounts to: Yeah, but you shouldn’t have been standing there.
According to the Spartans, Michigan State released a pre-game schedule of events, which both teams agreed upon ahead of Saturday and which is part of the norm for every Spartans home game. According to said schedule, Michigan State opens up the field more than two hours before the game, with the understanding the field will be cleared before Michigan State conducts its Spartan Walk.
And that’s where Michigan State’s explanation of events pretty much ends.
So, yeah. There’s no disputing of Michigan’s account, just that they shouldn’t have been standing there.
Michigan won the game, 21-7.