You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 10 p.m.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio strives for normalcy, James Rogers has 'full body cramp' and more

By Michael Rothstein


Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio gives defensive tackle Jerel Worthy a hug in the Michigan Stadium tunnel following the Spartan's 34-17 win Saturday.

Lon Horwedel |

Mark Dantonio stood at the top of the Michigan Stadium tunnel, just outside the Michigan State locker room. He slowly walked from player to player, assistant coach to assistant coach, doling out hugs and smiles.

The fourth-year Spartans head coach watched his team dismantle its biggest rival Michigan, 34-17, from in the press box for the first time in his career. It was his first game back since suffering a heart attack after Michigan State beat Notre Dame, 34-31, on Sept. 18 - and he was thrilled.

Nothing gets Dantonio going like beating Michigan.

“This trumped the (Wisconsin) game,” Dantonio said. “When you play Michigan and when you win away, it’s special. We’ve done something that hasn’t been done in 47 years - win three in a row - that’s special. That’s something you can talk about the rest of your life.”

Michigan State won three games in a row in the series for the first time since 1965-67.

Dantonio strived for as much normalcy as possible. He stayed on the field until kickoff before heading to the coaches’ box for the game. He went to practices this week. His coordinators - Don Treadwell on offense and Pat Narduzzi on defense - handled the game planning.

After Saturday’s game, Dantonio’s players celebrated with the Paul Bunyan Trophy at midfield, then ran to the southwest corner of Michigan Stadium to jump around with fans and the Michigan State band.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins ran up the tunnel after that, yelling “Yes!” That’s when he saw Dantonio and the two embraced again. He wanted normalcy. He got more than that.

“I wanted them to know I was OK,” Dantonio said about staying on the field until kickoff. “I wanted to try and do things like we normally do. I wanted to experience this football game close up, and that’s the way we wanted to do it. I didn’t want to have to ask somebody else to do something.”

Why punt?

One of the more curious Michigan decisions on a day full of them was when the Wolverines trailed 34-17 midway through the fourth quarter, they punted.

The call by Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez elicited the first boos for Michigan at home all season. Afterward, Rodriguez talked about it.

“Probably a mistake,” Rodriguez said. “I thought we’d get a quick turnaround, maybe get a minute and a half or two minutes off the clock. And we did get the stop, and then we run into the punter and give them the first down again.

“If I had do-overs, I wouldn’t punt. I was trying to get their attention, but it was too late. That was my fault.”

Injury on top of insult

Michigan, on top of losing, had several players leave the game with injury.

Junior wide receiver Martavious Odoms “may have a broken foot” according to Rodriguez. Junior nose tackle Mike Martin left the game with an unspecified injury.

Martin was seen walking slowly into a van after the game.

Senior cornerback James Rogers had what defensive backs coach Tony Gibson called “a full body cramp” in the second half and did not return. He is expected to return next week.

Quick hook

After Rogers went down, Michigan went to freshman cornerback Cullen Christian.

Sensing a potential mismatch, Michigan State went right at Christian - resulting in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Mark Dell.

“He’s got to be ready,” Gibson said. “We’re (Troy) Woolfolk down, James Rogers down. Unless you want to play.”

The next series, freshman Terrence Talbott replaced Christian.

Black improving

Every week, freshman Jibreel Black has seen more and more snaps. Playing behind Ryan Van Bergen, he has emerged as one of the more reliable young defenders.

“The coaches are letting me show what I can do and having faith in me on the field,” Black said. “I guess the coaches see I can help the team out, so they put me on the field.”

Black had an assisted tackle Saturday, but has also been consistent enough to give Van Bergen rest when he needs it.

“The crowd itself, that was crazy,” Black said. “I haven’t been in front of that many people before. It was very intense.”

This and that

The crowd of 113,065 was the second-largest in Michigan Stadium history. … Offensive lineman Zac Ciullo and defensive tackle Dominique Ware were named game captains. Both are walk-ons. … Freshman kicker Seth Broekhuizen made his first career field goal, a 34-yarder, in the first quarter.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

The fact of the matter is. This is not a problem that has popped up through the last two weeks of play (defense). It is a problem that has been going on for the third year in a row! Can someone explain to my how that can happen? Michigans front 4 looked good for most of the game. The back 7 where bad! Obi Ezah unfortunately is just not meant to be a line backer at this level. I dont know where you put him because he over pursues on every play (2 long touchdown runs on counters), he is not fast enough in this league to play line backer, and he cant tackle! I really dont know what the defense can do because they have been put in a position to fail by Robinson (poor recruiting and non existent coaching). This d is on pace to give up 320 points this year and that is off of points from not very good teams. The remaining teams could put them over 400 points this year. One part of me says I hope they lose the rest of their games and dont go to a bowl so they fire Robinson. The other half says I cant stand seeing this team lose! Go Wings, good start to the season!

3 And Out

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:42 a.m.

Not to pick on Cam but he shouldnt be out on the field and the fact that they have not recruited anyone better or have developed anyone better and the fact that he plays alongside a walk on who is starting after joining the team off the street says all you need to know about a) RRs defensive recruiting and b) his lackey's defensive coaching


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 7:42 p.m.

Big deal...its not like not punting was going to change the game. The game was over well before that.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 7:42 p.m.

Loraine State played physical and Michigan is soft. Don't be that guy that says State is cheap beacause our guys can't take a hit.

Sean T.

Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 6:48 p.m.

Lorain, We're not physical and the kids we recruited are not physical, our coaches don't teach physical so please don't expect our team to play physical. If Cam Gordon would've made such a hit, it wouldn't have scared Sparty at all because that's the way that they play. The real kicker is, MSU isn't the toughest defense in our conference by a long-shot. Look at the remainder of our schedule. I love your enthusiasm though.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 4:36 p.m.

Iowa will deliver a beat-down even greater than that which was delivered with such force by Michigan State. It is going to be ugly. I wish it weren't true, but it is. There is no distinction in mediocrity.

Lorain Steelmen

Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

Bluefan & Lou. Excellent posts. UM sustained a couple of injuries, on cheap shots from the Spartans. But that is to be expected. I was only disappointed by two things. One, UM played tentatively on offense, and should have gone after the Spartans. The short range passes were there all day. Two, Cam Gordon should have totally 'blown up' Lithicum early in the second Quarter, when he caught that mid-level pass. If Gordon had 'ended his day', the Spartans would have realized right there, that the WOLVERINES WERE GOING TO DESTROY ANY THING MOVING, OVER THE MIDDLE. C'mon no. 4, get nasty back there! Now its time for this team to 'take it out' on Iowa Saturday, and for the rest of the season. IF they can win out, the Spartans will lose two or three, and UM will still have the last laugh. It's in their hands now. Go Blue!


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 3:29 p.m.

Another year of saying "wait until next year" for the weakest team in the Big Ten! Pathetic!!!

3 And Out

Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 3:23 p.m.

lol@redcedar1....that used to be the standard for you guys! Lose to UM and then go on the huge nosedive the rest of the year....and now it is our M.O. Funny-sad how things have changed under this sad sack coaching regime.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

"We still have an excellent offense that will be scoring plenty of points against every opponent". Hey Bluefan, you must have a really short term memory because you only scored 17 when MSU BEAT YOU DOWN!!!


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 12:17 p.m.

Hey.......a Michigan Man who supports his team AND COACH... and also likes Camaro's. If it's a Maize and Blue '69 Zapper, you should have your face on a plaque in Schembechler Hall!!!

Sean T.

Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 12:03 p.m.

Lou, Are you serious? RR has never produced great stats versus the Big Ten opponents. And I'd like to know when MSU stacked the box against our offense, because it would be virtually impossible to do with us running our vaunted spread. All they did was run a short zone and play outside contain.(actually a soft cover 3) They played tough fundamental football and forced our only threat to play out of character and force mistakes. The fact that you state our offense is "improved" is a complete lack of football knowledge when one player is the entire offense. How many players from MSU scored yesterday? They've actually been doing that all year unfortunately and we haven't. Their offense "goes through" their QB...... our offense "is" our QB and that's the difference. The Love-fest continues!


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

To Lou's comment, how's that offense working out in the Big 10 after 3 years? Let's see... W 4 - L 14. And, the defense is #120 in FBS. Success!! There is no distinction in mediocrity.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 10:47 a.m.

2bluebyu Great post. RR will be the coach next year. What I can't figure out is how some people say they support the school and the team, but not the coach. I though they were all one. We didn't win all of our games when we were big and slow, so why people say we need to return to thoses day baffles me.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

I give credit to MSU. They underachieved last season, when they should've won 8 games. Now this year they are playing up to their potential. I said this before the game, that this might be the best MSU team in a long, long time. This might sound ridiculous but if they can get past Iowa, MSU could be looking at 11-1 or possibly 12-0. They don't play OSU. No shame in losing to them as far as I'm concerned.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

Great post Lou and Bluefan.......we could all take a lesson from MSU, their fans have stayed with that team for at least 15 yrs of bad performance......and they have supported a coach that had a rough start too. How long has it taken Dantonio to turn things around for State...........4 years. Not 2 or 3. Support your coach and team!!! GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

I agree with Lou. It is not hopeless. We still have an excellent offense that will be scoring plenty of points against every opponent. It is still my opinion, despite everything Denard has done that there are situations where Tate would be a better choice. I think he probably can thread the needle to recievers in tight coverage better. I hope we can see both get playing time.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

Wow, some of you folks are simply pathetic. We lost one game, our QB threw 3 picks, two of them were in the endzone. We moved the ball quite easily at times against Spartys decent defense. The mistakes by our QB cost us this game. Our true Sophmore QB that is. Our defense is garbage, yes we all knew that, every one of us knew that. We all know that we have to limit the mistakes on offense and on special teams to compenstae for the lack of talent and experience on defense. However, contrary to the biased RR hater opinion held by many here, we will be bowl eligible soon enough. so get over that silly idea right now junior. Yes, as of right now State is the better team, however to say that RR's offense can't work in the Big Ten is a laughable statement and a sign of either biased immaturity or a complete lack of football knowledge on the part of many of the posters on this board. State didn't shut our Offense down, they made some great plays on mistakes by our QB and that basicly decided the game. They stacked the box in an attempt to limit DR's running options which worked at times and he made a few bad throws, period. The points were there, we simply left them on the field. Our defense actually played about as well as we knew that they could. Which with a slightly better offensive performance would have been enough in this matchup. Big deal it only one game. So get off your self rightious highhorses already, Miching is obviously headed in the right direction on the offensive side of the ball. Nobody expected UM to go undefeated this year. We wanted to see marked improvement on both sides of the ball. Well Offensively we have seen that improvement, whereas defensely not so much. Thats the difference right now. But to suggest that this team will not win another game this season is an ignorant statement. Grow up ladies and get your panties out of that perpetual bunch that many of you have had for some time now. Show some maturity. Btw: Nice game Sparty, well except that personal foul that injured Mike Martin, that was a cheap shot, but you are Spartans so its understandable. Good luck the rest of the way.

Solar Blue

Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

As much as I do not like MSU, I have to admit that they beat Michigan yesterday the way Michigan used to beat people. Mainly by overpowing the opponent at the point of attack and having skill position people that do their job. Power runners that can break tackles yet have enough speed to go all the way and shifty wideouts with good hands that consistently make the catch. Not saying I long for the "good old days" but I am waiting to see any evidence that the RR spread will work in Big 10. Wait for the bad weather games, possibly even more ball handling miscues. I saw a lot of heads hanging on the Michigan sideline by late in the third quarter. How prepared to play against (an even better) Iowa team will tell us a lot about what to expect the rest of the way. Go Blue!


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

GoblueinNE_PA A person who knows football, which I am sure you are, would have noticed that Michigan had more time of possession in the first half. The problem is that we were still losing 17-10.


Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 7:09 a.m.

2blueyu, Have you seen the schedule? I don't think UM has a winnable game left. Did you see what Illinois did to PSU? Their defense may be better than Sparty's. Purdue also beat an undefeated Northwestern team with an offense alot like Michigan's. The pressure to win 6 games just got turned way up with the way Sparty exposed Richy,D-Rob and that silly excuse for a defense. 600 yards to Sparty? You can't score enough points against a real B10 defense to win games the Richrod way.

Man in the Mirror

Sun, Oct 10, 2010 : 2:42 a.m.

I'm with CoachCook. Denard is in trouble. I hope he doesn't get hurt, but he will like Forcier did last year when he began Big Ten play. All of Denard's stats from the easy games will start to balance out in the upcoming weeks as he won't be putting up those "ridiculous" numbers anymore. Big Ten defenses are not going to let him run and throw all over them. No Heisman for Denard just like there was no Heisman for Tate.


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 11:48 p.m.

"Be a man, support your team and your coach"? Are you kidding me? Rich Rod is a totally incompetent coach. All he has is a great athlete who runs around. MSU showed how to contain Robinson. It was no secret we finally ran into a team that was better. Good, fast, and physical D's are going to give Robinson fits. As for Rich Rod deserving or needing my support. Now way! I will be happy to support him as he backs up the moving fan and leaves town. Until then, I will simply be looking forward to that day!!


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 11:44 p.m.

Total Domination! That one-trick pony show has been exposed, no more cream puffs on the wolverines schedule! "Pride cometh before the fall" Easily four in a row after Cousins Senior season at home next year!


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 11:22 p.m.

Did you all see Dantonio's quotes about the specialness of this rivalry? Similar to Tressel's the last few years. I have yet to see Rod act like this game (or OSU) is anything more than just a game (and to him, a loss). No embrace, or statements, or anything. Just beat-downs. I would love to have a coach that understands what Tress and Dantonio talk about to the press and more importantly, impress upon their teams.


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 11:21 p.m.

I'm not going to support this coach, I can tell you that for sure. I still love and support the team, but the coach is hack who's in way over his head. It's a shame what's happened to my alma mater's football program. Hopefully, the rebuilding that the new coach starts next season, whomever that is, will take less than 3 years to get us back to where we should be.


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 10:56 p.m.

I wish Michigan players were being "a man". They are soft and not tough enough for the Big Ten. Speed is sweet but toughness wins championships. Be a man and admit that.........


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 10:40 p.m.

Give it a rest 3 and Out. 1st loss of the season and you're bailing out already?? We'll get 6 maybe 7 wins this year and get a lower teir bowl game. I'm good with that for this year. Dee Hart has committed to Mich. and more like him will come. D-Rob had a bad happens. Be a you're team AND YOUR COACH!!! GO BLUE!!!

3 And Out

Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 10:01 p.m.

Probably a mistake, Rodriguez said. I thought wed get a quick turnaround, maybe get a minute and a half or two minutes off the clock. And we did get the stop, and then we run into the punter and give them the first down again. If I had do-overs, I wouldnt punt. I was trying to get their attention, but it was too late. That was my fault. So which is it coach Rich Rod? Did you call that punt or are you saying that you tried to stop it? Weird... bad clock management...bad coaching pointing fingers once again 3 And Out coach

3 And Out

Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 10 p.m.

Dantonio 3 Rich Rodriguez 0 We are hurting right now.