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Posted on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

Brady Hoke won't call Michigan State dirty, stays quiet on Gholston punch

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan wideout Junior Hemingway and MSU defensive back Darqueze Dennard have words after a play in the Spartans' 28-14 win Saturday.

Jeff Sainlar I

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke saw the punch Michigan State defensive lineman William Gholston threw to the face of Wolverine offensive lineman Taylor Lewan on Saturday.

Upon review of the film, he also saw Gholston twist Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson's helmet after a play, and the late hit by Marcus Rush that knocked Robinson out of the game.

He saw it all.

But was it enough to call the Spartans a dirty football team?

"I don't know," Hoke said when asked for a comment during his Monday press conference. "What's your opinion?"

Michigan State was flagged for six personal foul calls during its 28-14 win over the Wolverines on Saturday, and had a total of 13 penalties.

Video: Brady Hoke, Mike Martin discuss Michigan State loss

Immediately following the game, Michigan State defensive lineman Jerel Worthy was asked if he thought the contest was dirty. He replied, "definitely." Spartans coach Mark Dantonio didn't say his team played dirty, but rather that the Spartans played with a great deal of emotion.

"You have to play this game a little bit angry," he said following the game. "Regardless of who you are playing."

Hoke said Michigan "always" sends a handful of plays to the Big Ten Conference office following each game, and said that was the case after the loss to Michigan State.

He did not specify which plays were sent in, saying that "I'm sure they have the film if it was on TV."

In 2009, Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton was suspended for a game against Eastern Michigan following a punch thrown a week prior against Notre Dame. At the time, former Wolverine coach Rich Rodriguez said he didn't see the punch.

The Big Ten did, though, and made Mouton pay for it.

Asked further if he felt that Gholston should be suspended for his actions, Hoke said that isn't his decision to make.

"I'm not going to react to it, I'm a football coach. I'm not a referee or a rules maker," he said. "That's not for me to say. Did I see (the punch)? Yes. Does that happen in games? Yes. Is that sometimes part of the game? Yes."

Hoke also stayed quiet on the lack of a post-game handshake between both sides, saying he wasn't aware of any rule making that ritual a necessity.

"I don't know about protocol," he said. "That's a big word for me."

Michigan's players tended to agree with their coach Monday, refusing to call their in-state rival a dirty football team.

Football was being played Saturday, they said. For now, the Wolverines appear to be leaving it at that.

"Football's a tough game," Michigan senior center David Molk said. "The line between cheap and fair is pretty thin sometimes, and really it's in the eye of the beholder.

"It's never too rough. It's football. Come on, we wear a helmet and pads for a reason."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

Ndamukong Suh of the Lions plays the same way. So if you are calling Gholston a criminal is Suh also a criminal?

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Boys will be boys..... Gohlstin's probably asking this morning...'Hey, what's a fella got to do, to get a suspension around here?' (Maybe one of the Badgers can show him Saturday night.) We know now, that the officilas will NOT toss a guy for a punch to the throat, or an attempt to snap someone's neck. I'm sure the Badger & Husker coaching staffs will be showing these tapes, to their young men. I suspect that Bielema or Pelini, may not have the same 'let's all get along' mentality that Hoke has displayed. And lets' all hope that MSU wears those 'nifty' Spartan, uniforms again. They were oh so, stunning saturday! My hope is, that Wisconsin flattens MSU, and then MSU travels to Lincoln, and gets the crap beaten out of them over there. Maybe they'll have a road version, of that 'swell' Spartan uniform to wear out there.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:31 a.m.

I never have a problem swallowing my pride when Michigan is beat fare and square. And I realize that football in itself is a very dirty game. But the way MSU played on Saturday was an absolute disgrace to the Big Ten, and to college football. The worst part is, had MSU played the cleanest game of their lives, they still would have beat Michigan, but instead they chose to play dirty. I can deal with a punch here or there, after all, they do wear helmets. But what I'll never forget is the way they blatantly went after our best player. And all along Denard was one of the nicest guys on the field, helping other MSU players up and patting them on the back. And in return they tried to end his football career, and taunt him at the very end of the game. Just remember State fans, what goes around comes around. Think of us when you loose your 6th strait bowl in a row :-)


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:34 a.m.



Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:28 a.m.

I both agree and disagree with Coach Hoke and Coach Dantonio. I agree: football is both an emotional game and a game which inflicts bruises and sometimes sheds some blood. I agree that no coach should consider themselves rule-makers and that coaches should leave such judgements to officials who have that kind of job. But beyond that, I disagree that "anything goes" as both parties (U of M and MSU) seem to imply. There's a limit and that limit is defined by the phrase: the safety of the players. We are constantly reminded by coaches like Brady Hoke that they keep the well being and development of their players IN THE FOREFRONT of their own thoughts. Now we see a big contradiction to that claim. When student athletes get seriously injured (or killed) the STORY CHANGES. I also agree that there were at least a couple of personal fouls laid out by Michigan players. In fact, those fouls may have precipitated retaliation. So logically: the Big Ten might legitimately decide to suspend players on BOTH sides of last Saturday's "game." I can't help but wonder if Coach Hoke's blasé responses to questions about these fouls means that he's worried about losing a couple of players for a game or two. Let's just remember: if at any time a Michigan player under Hoke gets permanently injured: he is responsible. I hope that never happens, I really do.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

In other news, asked MSU: When did you stop beating your spouse? sheesh.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

And in response MSU smacked its spouse.

Daniel Allegree

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

I will say that I do not agree with any players intentionally trying to hurt another player whether it be openly or under the pile. What Gholston was doing was very blantant I do not see how any of the officials did not see the punch that he threw at Lewan...not saying that Lewan was innocent on that play but what Gholston was doing all game long he had it coming. The late hit on Denard late in the 4th quarter also deserved to be severely punished. If Jim Delany had any kahunas he would at least suspend Gholston for at least 1 game no matter how important the game is...that type of behavior and dirty play deserves to be punished. If Sparty plays that was against Wiscy you can bet that those boys will retaliate and it may get out of hand. As for the game, it really turned for Michigan on the 4 and 1 call on the MSU you 9 yard line. They had all the momentum and at that point I don't think there was any need for a "cute" play call. If they score there they take the crowd out of it and at that point they have stemmed the tide of MSU. The defense played a pretty good game but I would say the play calling and the lack of adjustments on MSU blitzes didn't help Robinson at all. Sometimes I think Al Borges out thinks himself and it ends up costing UM in the end. The interception was the correct read by Denard on the blitz but you cannot expect Vince Smith who is a running back to run the hot route which he is not accustomed to running. That play should have been ran with either Roundtree, Gallon or Hemmingway. All that said, it was still a good game minus the few dirty plays that occured. This year UM will not collapse like they have in the past due to the coaching staff they have.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

"This year UM will not collapse like they have in the past due to the coaching staff they have." New staff, same players, same gameplan, same opponents with good defense... The collapse has begun.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

It's very simple. Whether you agree or not that rough play is part of football, there are conference rules about hitting someone in the face or intentionally trying to hurt a player. If you are caught doing it, you will be suspended. It's not JUST the rule, it's the right thing to do. If violence like this goes unpunished, it WILL escalate - not just on the field, but within the fan ranks too. We certainly don't want college football to turn into European soccer do we? Am I overreacting? I don't believe so. Hopefully the Big Ten will do what MSU apparently doesn't have the honor or integrity to do and suspend Gholston.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:36 a.m.

Sorry to be getting into this late but I want to say: Yes, you are absolutely right on this. If this kind of thing escalates, football will become either "soccer" or - hockey. Top football schools might want to disband their football teams and just turn all the players into boxers. At least with boxing, there's no doubt the beatings are by "enlisted personnel" whose job it is to give out (and take) beatings.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Simply put, it is sportsmanship, a characteristic lost on Mark Dantonio and the thugs he has recruited.

Chad Williams

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Let all the excuses begin now for poor hoke. How does a team with 100 yards in personal fouls win. They called the majority of them and all resulted in 15 yards and a first down. I think the headline should be how michigan couldn't capitalize off msu " dirty" play. Look folks msu is a rival game it seems like mich needs to up thr intensity more. Msu is sick of being overlooked to the big game. This is a wake up call. Msu played clean they woild have won by 20. Overall mich was just manhandled on both lines. Not one bit the physical team through 6 weeks. On the possession for msu countess had a chance to lay the wood on a guy that dropped a pass and he did was a weak push didnt even knock him to the ground. Msu made 3 yard gains into 6 yard gains. Physicality is a mentality not a measurement. If im dennard im screaming at my o line because they didnt protect him. After the helmet pull gholsten woulda been on my hit list. Nothing ilegall but it woulda sent a firm block or two woulda solved that. All said dnt think osu is a win they play defense too and now know mich is soft.

Fly Wheel

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

Brady Hoke and the University of Michigan can't do this - but we as UM alums and fans of the Wolverines can do this - that is, keep showing (over and over) film from all of Sparty's dirty plays in last Saturday's game against the Wolverines on many of the "unofficial" UM sports sites. Once parents of high school recruits and the recruits themselves see Dantonio's lack of control which led to this lack of discipline and lack of respect from the Michigan State players, this should help (at least in-state) football recruiting for UM - and should hurt football recruiting for this regenade MSU football program. I never liked the guy - Dantonio (because of his personality - apart from the fact that he is MSU's head football coach) - and this dirty play / lack of respect / lack of control of his players - just reinforces my opinion. So, thank you MSU for signing Dantonio to a long term contract - MSU is already on the down side of their recent success - and signing Dantonio long-term should only add to that slide.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

The gangsters and thug fanatics will be attracted to go to MSU, just like the players who loves tatoos and money went to Tressel and OSU. By theway, Tressel is Dantonio's buddy! lol


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Yes, exactly ... it will make a different to some. Now, there are *some* recruits who are drawn to that type of culture in a program. And some programs do manage to win with that type of player. But their success is tainted. It's not celebrated so much as acknowledged. I said in my other post that kids who yearn to be men of character will seek out coaches who will help them in that quest. We see the point of separation between UM and MSU. MSU seems to relish the "do whatever to win" attitude; UM and Hoke are absolutely stressing the "do what's right and good things happen" approach. Dantonio is an odd duck. On the surface he's all pious, but things like this make me wonder if it's all window dressing.

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

Fly Wheel. EXCELLENT post! I never thought about the recruiting ramifications, and the damage Dantonio did, to his own program. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy!!!!!!!


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Maybe to the public the UM staff is staying mute but I guarantee those un sportsman like conduct film clips will be on hand as Michigan prepares for next years contest with MSU.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

Gholston should have been ejected when he jumped on the pile of players on top of Robinson, reached down, grabbed Robinson's face mask and gave it a sharp twist. This was not a case of playing with reckless abandon or emotion; it was pure thuggery that could have seriously injured or paralyzed Robinson, who was completely pinned and immobile under the weight of the other players. He literally couldn't roll with the punch. Gholston needs to be disciplined and suspended. His conduct was not only unsportsmanlike, it was an egregious assault that could have resulted in great bodily harm. And it was completely intentional--the video makes that clear.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

Danger of concussions are known. But apparently grabbing face masks and twisting the head and neck when a player is down is OK ??? And punches thrown after a play is over is OK too ?? Hope the BIG TEN officials can live up to their responsibility and suspend the player for at least a week. As noted it a suspension was given 2 years ago to a Michigan player that was guilty of just one infraction


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

The twisting of the neck of any player? Gholston should be banned from the sport. Plain and Simple. After that, we will see if other players follow that example.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

I watch pro football, don't you?


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8 p.m.

Hoke is playing this EXACTLY right. First -- it's a demonstration of manly class and graciousness that will resonate with the players. Young men with a flicker of character and integrity YEARN to become young men with character through and through. You watch over the next couple of years as Hoke and staff vacuum up the high quality recruits in Michigan and Ohio who seek out a coach who has what it takes to teach them how to be men of character. Second -- by taking the high road Hoke is allowing the press and others to do the dirty work. If he uttered one word in support of the notion the game was "dirty" the story would INSTANTLY become about Hoke and his view. As it is the story remains not about Hoke, or the Michigan team, but about MSU and what the Big Ten officials will do. Third -- this "Aw shucks, I'm just a ball coach" routine (the reference to "protocol" being a big word) is just an act. It's all about FOCUS. And not Hoke's focus. The PLAYERS' focus. It's all about getting the players to draw the proper lessons and use that learning going forward. A coach that gets distracted -- we had one of those the past three years -- doesn't serve the players well. For all the talking down of Brandon and Hoke and others on the staff by some on this board ... I'll say this: we have ourselves a solidly professional and intelligent staff who knows what they're doing. Time will illustrate this better than my words will.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

Take the high road in accepting losses but not in physical abuse. It makes him a coward and makes Michigan look like a wimp at least mentally. A coach and a parent should protect their players and children against physical abuse. Maybe that is why UM played kinda scared that day, as an MSU player said, we fear in Robinson's eyes. UM will never beat MSU if they allow themselves to be abused.

Chad Williams

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Maybe he is man enough to admit his team was flat out punked and calling them dirty woulda made him look like a sore loser. Maybe he expected this to be a dirty game cause is noy a friendly we pay u a million dollars to play us game but a rival game. Im upset with how michigan didnt respond. Not saying in a dirty way but not even a hard hit or a real pancake block. They just layed there and took it.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

I think you just quoted page 2 of Chapter 7 "Teaching Character to Players" in the Football Coaches Handbook. ;+}


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Well said.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

I am most concerned that a multi-million dollar employee of a top US University finds "protocol" to be a big word.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

Cracks starting to appear with the guy. He is confused to whether he would make a case about the dirty plays or play classy. Lloyd Carr in the clockgate never said anything negative, but he did imply that something negative happened to them. Sometimes when you are a coach or a parent and some abuse happened to your players and your family, you should fight for them and not remain silent. 4th and inches - Run the ball! The cracks are starting to show.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

This is the midwest. You take what you can get, with the talent flight.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

Silly ...see below.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

Michigan Fans need to take a lesson from their new coach and the players... stop whining and making excuses to try and justify the reality of yet another loss to the Spartans. Football is fought in the trenches and is a battle...its not figure skating. If you want a clear picture of the game and how it was played, look at how Taylor Lewan took down William Gholston...he basically pulled him to the ground by his facemask. Perhaps this is why there is no mention by the MSU press, they understand football and how it has always been played. Why the drag to the ground by Lewan is not mentioned in this whole punching scenario here in Ann Arbor? Hummmmm…. Just like in Hockey the retaliation was what was penalized. So whether it is the game clock or claims of "dirty" play get a grip and just be happy with the fact that at lease some class is back at the helm of the Wolverines... if only it will trickle down to the crybaby fans.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:39 a.m.

Thuggery has no place in sports bro. That's a football game between academic institutions and not a gang war. Gholston should do that in the streets during gang wars and not on sporting events where sportsmanship is paramount.

Chad Williams

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.



Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

I thought I was watching WWF smack down!! I've never seen someone get away with body slamming a quarterback!! MSMOO knew the only way to beat us was to play dirty! State stills sucks!!!!! Go blue!


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Gee, maybe if Michigan had been able to pressure the quarterback, they could have been called for some late hits too.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

Now that's funny!!


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

not as worried about the punch as the play where he unloaded on Denard who was at teh bottom of a pile of spartans and tried to twist his head off. cannot believe a media member did not bring that up.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

The media did that on hoke and hoke did not make a deal of that. I dont know if a coach should protect his players or pretent to be classy. One thing for sure, Hoke lost to MSU, dirty or not, classy or not, Hoke lost.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Make sure when you report the punch to the face that you report what Lewan was doing to Gholston right before it happened - grabbing his face mask and holding him to the ground. ESPN showed the replay of it. Maybe a little dirty on UM there, but no one saw it, so it doesn't count. The freep mentions it, and it was replayed during the broadcast, if you have it on your DVR and want to see it. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The twisted face mask on Denard was completely uncalled for and should have resulted in Gholston's being ejected from the game.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

So what? Lewan's actions could be classified as part of the game, he did not punch Gholston nor did he break his arm. Punish Gholston for those criminal actions.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

BeatTownBlue is exactly right, what Lewan did may have been beyond what's allowed, but it was less than what Gholston had already done to him. This was also shortly after Gholston's attack on Denard, if memory serves me correctly. After two attempts to severely injure opposing players, Gholston is lucky Lewan has enough class to retaliate in a way not intended to injure Gholston at all.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

If you rewind your fancy DVR quite further back, near to the beginning of the game, you may be able to see where the whole Lewan-Gholston brawl stems from. Check the part earlier in the game where Lewan is taken out of the game for a while. You will be able to see Gholston using &quot;arm bar&quot; technique (after whistle is blow) attempting to break Lewan's arm.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Good to see Michigan taking a positive spin on this. They need not admit to the bruising they took. The MSU game should serve as a big wake up call to every player on the roster and every one on the coaching staff. Move on, get ready to play five more games of football, then add a bowl game that is already in the bag. The B1G should suspend Gholston for the next game. That would hurt because WISC is next. I hope to get the news on Gholston's status, soon. This is not about Sparty being the better team, they were, but this about sportsmanship and respecting the other team's program. If Sparty nation is unable to do that, they lose respect for their accomplishments.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

Dantonio is probably upset that more of his players didn't get personal fouls. In the locker room, he is probably yelling at them, asking about the other 6 guys!! &quot;Why no injuries?&quot; What an example to set.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

Sparty under Dantonio has no class. It's evident from his praise of the &quot;tragic hero&quot; Jim Tressel. To him, a liar who gets caught is a tragic hero. The broadcaster who points it out is a nobody. Gholston will go unpunished by Dantonio. Only if the B1G suspends him, which they won't (Wisconsin is too big of a game), will he have to learn the repercussions of his actions.

Mr G

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

MRunner73 ---- well said!


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

Coach Hoke is a better man than I. After the late hit on Denard (the sixth flagged, dirty play by MSU on the day) I would have envoke the old mafia rule of &quot;send one of our guys to the hospital, we send one of yours to the morgue.&quot; The fact that no one from Michigan retaliated made me both proud and sad. Proud that we're better than that, but sad that everyone from our team seemed comfortable in just taking that nonsense.

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

Mr. Ed.....NO. msu HAD to play that way if they wanted to win. It was their only option. I was pleasantly surprized by the um defense, that kept msu in check. UM even recovered a fumble on a blown msu side ways lateral, and the a ball was given back to msu. It enabled another msu TD.

Chad Williams

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 11 p.m.

Im going to have to disagree with you today. What rivalry game doesnt have that extra unnecessary stuff going on. Mike Hart started it this and msu finished it. Sat was the little brother getting bigger than big bro. Michigan played that game like the first 6. No intensity to start and msu made sure it didnt pick up. I will say the defense is better at not making the offense score every possession but I see tackling big ten opponents isnt something they do well. Msu got an extra 2-3 yards every run and 5-10 every pass due to poor tackling. Guys are still tacking looking and diving to the ground. You cant tackle when u dive face first into the ground. They still dont finish tackles. They hit qnd stand while the other guy keeps moving forward for more yards.

Mr G

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

Yes Mr Ed the Spartans could have won had they played a sportsman like game. It's a shame you won't see any of this reporting in the Lansing State Journal. MSU and the Football Coach need to discipline players who participated in this in appropriate behavior. If universities don't take some action this behavior will continue. Good job Ann Arbor News / Nick Baumgardner. Your reporting was fair, direct, and to the point.

Mr. Ed

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

Do you really think the Spartans could have won otherwise.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

They won the game but they have to face sanctions for the those criminals acts.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:22 a.m.



Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

The Spartans played good defense to win without the actions of 2 rogue players and Michigan would have a respect for them. Now all Sparty did was to give the Wolverines plenty of strong reasons to play a much better game next year. And there will be no respect for MSU and Dantonio. Will this be the last game MSU wins for quite a while?