The Michigan vs Michigan State rivalry is one of the best and perhaps most underrated rivalry in all of sports. A lot of people outside of the state of Michigan, or at least the Midwest, don’t quite realize how big this rivalry is and how much hatred is involved.
Michigan State senior running back L.J. Scott felt the magnitude of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry as soon as he got to The Big House his freshman year.
He said both the Michigan fan base and players didn’t give the Spartans any respect, firing him up and sending his dislike for U-M to the next level.
“Respect. It’s just like, we get no respect when it comes to them, so that’s pretty much why it’s important to me,” Scott said. “I learned that when I first got here as a freshman.”
When asked why he feels MSU doesn’t get any respect from Michigan, he was blunt.
“I don’t know. Probably because they’re our little sister,” Scott said.
This quote is obviously a play off of former Michigan running back Mike Hart’s little brother comments, which he made back in 2007 about the Spartans.
Michigan State currently holds the bragging rights in the rivalry, and have dominated the rivalry for the past decade, however, Scott himself didn’t play in last year’s contest.
Redshirt junior quarterback Brian Lewerke did, completing 11-of-22 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown in a monsoon. He added 61 yards and a score on the ground.
“Coming from Arizona, I didn’t fully understand [the rivalry] before I moved, but now that I’ve lived in Michigan, instantly when I got to Michigan State I knew that this game is important,” Lewerke said. “It’s something that all of us care about, something all the alumni care about, and we try to play our best and come out and win it every time. You kind of learn as time goes on that the game means a lot.”
He didn’t travel to the 2015 game, broke his leg in the 2016 game and finally got the chance to play all four quarters in 2017.
This year, Lewerke wants to improve his totals and hit 3,000 yards, 25-plus touchdowns and complete 60 percent of his passes.
It’s always interesting to see the new dynamics of the rivalry unfold every season. There always seems to be a new quote, a new jab, a new shot taken from one school or the other. Mike Hart’s “little brother” comments still get used frequently today and I’m curious to see if these new comments from LJ Scott will have that staying power as well. Only time will tell.
But for the immediate future, we will continue to see how the rivalry unfolds and how the two teams coexist with each other in the state of Michigan.
If you aren’t from the state of Michigan, take a few minutes and do some reading on this rivalry. It’s important for people all across the country to appreciate how big of a rivalry this is and how deeply rooted it is.