Following both teams’ bye weeks, the Michigan and Michigan State football teams will kick off under the lights Oct. 29, in just the second true night game in the rivalry’s history.
Monday afternoon, as television stations announced their broadcasting schedules, it was revealed that the fourth-ranked Wolverines’ next game would be their second night game of the season, kicking off at 7:30 pm ET, and be broadcast on ABC. Michigan’s previous four games all kicked off at Noon, and were all the centerpiece of FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff game.
The clash between the Wolverines and Spartans is not anticipated to be a close one. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Michigan a 90.3 percent chance of winning. Michigan State, a preseason top-15 team, lost four straight games before outlasting Wisconsin on double-overtime Saturday. The Spartans now sit at 3-4 on the season, including 1-3 in Big Ten play with losses to Maryland, Ohio State and Minnesota.
The Wolverines, however, have lost to the Spartans twice in a row despite being favored in both games. Michigan’s thirst for revenge was evident Saturday, when Wolverine players and coaches immediately turned their attention to the Spartans after Michigan’s 41-17 win over then-No. 10 Penn State.
“All I gotta say is (the change in focus) is gonna be pretty quick because we want Paul back,” quarterback JJ McCarthy said after the game, referring to the Paul Bunyan Trophy that is awarded to the winner of the annual rivalry bout. “We want him back, and they’re coming to our house. I don’t know if it’s gonna be under the lights but it might be. And yeah, we’re ready for that one. We’re going to be turning the page really quick. “
Added defensive end Mike Morris: “The drive to beat them isn’t going to stop in this bye week.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh liked the focus, stating that it showed how focused and bought-in his team is.
“They show up ready to play every week,” Harbaugh said. “Really with the goal of just winning the next game and getting prepared for it. And that’s evidenced by guys coming up the tunnel, telling guys they had a great game. Blake (Corum) says, ‘On to Michigan State, coach!’ Offensive line, a heck of a performance. I mean, 412 yards, guys (say), ‘That’s great. Coach, on to Michigan State!’
“OK. I like where your head’s at. Let’s just keep it rolling.”
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