ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Poor sportsmanship by the Michigan State Spartans sullied the celebratory mood in Ann Arbor as the Michigan Wolverines pitched a second-half shutout to capture the Paul Bunyan Trophy.
NSFW: Looks like things got heated between @msu_football and @umichfootball DB #JaDenMcBurrows in the tunnel after the game. #UMMSU #MichiganWolverines #MichiganFootball #MichiganStateSpartans https://t.co/EdiKkuyrTo— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) October 30, 2022
The fallout from the scuffle could be costly as the family of cornerback Gemon Green told ESPN that they plan on taking legal action against all parties involved.
I spoke to the father of Gemon Green, the Michigan football player hit with a helmet in the tunnel. He said the family is planning to press charges and take legal action on those involved.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) October 31, 2022
He said Gemon was struck with a helmet in the face, back and shoulder.
The Spartans seem like a team who can dish out insults but can’t handle taking a loss. Leave it all on the field. Don’t take it off the field and embarrass not only the name on the front of your jerseys but also the names on the back. That attitude starts at the top, and this behavior (Tuck is coming) seems to be allowed in their program.
@CoachJim4UM said two players were assaulted in tunnel by @MSU_Football players after the game. He said he thinks they may have suffered broken noses. #MichiganStateSpartans #MichiganWolverines pic.twitter.com/twxcyO6iq3— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) October 30, 2022
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh spoke after the game and was dumbfounded by what he had just discovered.
“Two of our players were assaulted,” said Harbaugh. “I saw the one video, and it’s 10-on-one. Pretty bad. I’m going to let our athletic director address it with the authorities. “Looks pretty open and shut. One of our players has a nasal injury, which could be a broken nose. Just very unfortunate.”
Harbaugh and the men in maize have been waiting for the moment to capture Paul Bunyan for the past two seasons, and for a split second, the moment was amazing, and then it took a turn for the worst.
Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel took the podium to share insight into the situation.
“What happened after the game was completely unacceptable,” said Manuel. “I’ve talked to the Big Ten commissioner, and he is looking into it. We have the police also looking into it because they’ve seen the video. So they’re addressing it.”
“We’ll leave it in their hands, but this is not how we should interact after the game; This is not the way another team should grab a player and do what they did. It’s completely and utterly unacceptable. The Big Ten and law enforcement will handle it, but this is not what a rivalry should be about, and it’s not how it should be remembered. We won on the field; this man and this team and those players went out there and won. And for that to happen, it’s unacceptable. That’s all I’m going to say, and I’ll leave it to Kevin and law enforcement to handle from here on out.”
Spartans Athletic Director Samuel Stanley said in a statement:
“I’m extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior depicted by members of our football program. There is no provocation that could justify the behavior we are seeing on the videos. Rivalries can be intense but should never be violent. Coach Tucker will be holding the players involved responsible, and our football team and the university will be cooperating with all related investigations by law enforcement and the Big Ten Conference.”
@MSU_Football suspending #TankBrown #KharyCrump #AngeloGrose and #ZionYoung indefinitely after Saturday’s altercation in #TheBigHouse #MichiganStateSpartans #MichiganWolverines pic.twitter.com/TJ2m8zVYdP— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) October 31, 2022
Spartans head coach Mel Tucker took to Twitter to respond:
“As Spartans, our program has a responsibility to uphold the highest level of sportsmanship, said Tucker. “While emotions were very high at the conclusion of our rivalry game at Michigan Stadium, there is no excuse for behavior that puts our team or our opponents at risk.”
“In complete cooperation with law enforcement, the Big Ten Conference, and MSU and UM leadership, we will evaluate the events in Ann Arbor and take swift and appropriate action.”
Michigan came into the game telling you what they were going to do, especially if they got up on you. If you don’t like what is happening, stop it in the field of play. Don’t get tough in the tunnel behind closed doors. Plus, the eye in the sky is always watching.
The postgame shenanigans took away from the performance of players on both teams. Still, one man outshined the rest as Heisman candidate Blake Corum became the fastest U of M player to reach 1,000 yards rushing since Denard Robinson in 2010.
Corum finished the game with 177 rushing yards on 33 carries and a pair of touchdowns, with one coming from the ground and the other through the air. The receiving touchdown was his first of the season.
“I was 0-2 against them (MSU) until today,” said Corum. “It feels great. We came out here and balled. We got a couple of minor things to fix. We got to score more in the red zone, but overall it was a great game and a great performance, so I’m happy.”
The Wolverines had a great game as every man put a hat on a hat which is why Corum was able to have the day he had.
“Like coach Harbaugh said, ‘If you go 8-0 then you’re on a rampage,’” said Corum. “We’re officially on a rampage. I love my teammates. They came out here and played their hearts out today.”
The Wolverines didn’t punt the ball until five minutes remained in the game. Michigan’s offensive line was dominant as they controlled the time of possession.
“When you have an offensive line like I do, then you can do things like that,” Corum said. “They pushed those boys off of the ball, which allowed me to get five a pop or seven a pop, whatever it may be; I give all the credit to them, the tight ends and the wide receivers, as they blocked their butts off.”
Wolverines offensive lineman Ryan Hays spoke about his performance after the game as well.
“It’s just a great feeling,” said Hayes. “We came out and started a little slow, but we kept pushing, and it worked out for us.”
The Spartans fought valiantly as they came into the matchup with a heck of a game plan. They focused on the Wolverines’ lack of protecting the football by forcing an early turnover from wide receiver Cornelius Johnson.
Their defense is among the best at forcing turnovers, but bad decision-making and play-calling caused them the game. Instead of taking the points or punting on fourth down, they decided to be aggressive and eventually paid the cost in the end.
Keon Coleman looked like a man amongst boys in the rivalry game as he caught five receptions for 155 yards and the lone touchdown for the Spartans.
After trailing 7-3 to end the first quarter, the Wolverines’ defense dressed up as police officers for Halloween because they locked up the Spartans’ offense.
Led by Junior Colson’s 10 total tackles, four as solos and one tackle for loss, the men in maize held MSU scoreless for the remainder of the game.
“Donovan (Edwards) said it best before the game that right now we’re going on a rescue mission,” said Colson. “I couldn’t stop smiling about it.”
To make matters worse, Michigan State was held to six plays for eight yards in the third quarter. They only had the ball for 2:10 out of 15 minutes.
The Spartans were held to 252 yards total, with 215 coming through the air and only 37 on the ground.
“So far, since I’ve been here, I’ve been 0-2, so there’s no better feeling than finally getting Paul (Bunyan) back,” said Kris Jenkins. “Finally executing on all sides of the ball and doing what we should’ve done a long time ago, so it feels nice.”
Red zone offense
The game should have been out of reach earlier, but poor red zone offense caused Michigan to settle for five field goals by Jake Moody, including a career-long 54-yarder.
His five field goals were one shy of the school record of six, which Moody set in 2018 against Indiana.
“The game shouldn’t have gotten as close as it was,” said J.J. McCarthy. “We got to finish and put points on the board any chance that we get, and it’s going to be a huge focus this week. I guarantee we’re going to improve on that.”
Michigan will look to keep the good times rolling as they’ll travel to New Jersey to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights under the lights. Kickoff is at 7:30 Saturday (Nov. 5).