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Posted on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Brady Hoke: Michigan's top priority remains beating Ohio State, despite 4-game skid against MSU

By Kyle Meinke

Coach Brady Hoke says the Michigan football team's top priority remains beating Ohio State, despite the Wolverines' current four-game losing streak against in-state rival Michigan State.

He knows Michigan State's priorities are a little different, noting Spartans coach Mark Dantonio has ramped up the rivalry by placing added focus on the Wolverines, his No. 1 target. But Hoke said he remains most concerned about the final game on his schedule.

"I think the in-state rivalry is always something that's important to us," said Hoke, speaking to a group of state sports reporters and editors Wednesday at Weber's Inn in Ann Arbor. "We have not done our job the last four years, if you're on the Michigan side of things, and that's coaching, and that has to be better.

"But the Ohio game's the Ohio game."


Michigan football coach Brady Hoke: "I thing the in-state rivalry is always something that's important to us. ... But the Ohio game's the Ohio game."

Angela J. Cesere |

Michigan lost 28-14 to Michigan State in Hoke's first year as coach, extending the Wolverines' losing streak in the series to four games. That ties a record in the Paul Bunyan Trophy era, which began when the Spartans joined the Big Ten in 1953.

The rivalry picked up some steam this offseason after Wolverines receivers coach (and recruiting coordinator) Jeff Hecklinski was cut off by Dantonio at a function in Kalamazoo.

Later, Dantonio told, "We're laying in the weeds. ... We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the the threat?"

"It's really important (to regain control), obviously," Hoke said. "We take a lot of pride in that. Paul Bunyan Trophy, that part of it, having that in Ann Arbor, is very important to us."

The Wolverines had also struggled against Ohio State before Hoke's hire, losing seven in a row. However, Hoke was able to stem that skid with a 40-34 victory in the regular-season finale.

And for Hoke, beating the Buckeyes remains his top priority.

"(But) that doesn't lessen anything on the Michigan State game, because we realize in this state, you draw a line in the sand," he said.

The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry has become increasingly contentious in the past year, fueled by Hoke's refusal to say "Ohio State." First-year Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer responded by calling Michigan "That Team Up North."

The series picked up steam natinonally in recent weeks after 2013 Michigan commit Logan Tuley-Tillman burned recruiting mail from Ohio State and posted it on Twitter. He received death threats from Buckeyes fans.

"Michigan and Ohio have been going at it for a long time, and I think that's part of it," Hoke said.

Michigan hosts Michigan State on Oct. 20, then closes the regular season Nov. 24 at Ohio State.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

IMO, it's a mistake to focus on "four losses in a row" when it comes to the UM vs MSU rivalry. The real embarrassment involves the selection of the wrong coach to lead Michigan football which led to the - *most embarrassing* - worst ever 3-year record for the team. Three losses to MSU when they were relatively sound is only a peripheral matter. This happened in the mid-Sixties as well, when MSU won a national championship while Michigan was in the midst of the (regrettable) Bump Elliot Era. In reality, it's ONE loss, the last one, which Michigan must avenge. Meanwhile, there's always been Michigan vs Ohio, before Michigan State even joined (was allowed to join) the Big Ten. MSU? Where's the threat? The Spartans are a middling good team which gets lucky every 40 years or so. They're over 20 games behind Michigan in the state rivalry series - again - where's the threat? Beat Ohio! Beat Urban Meyer! And beat MSU and the rest while you're at it, Coach Hoke!! Go Blue!!


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

HAILYES! BEAT STATE...both of 'em


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Love the scared Big10 mindset. discount the actually important games and pretend you don't care (i didn't really want to go to the party anyway)! Oh doesn't matter if we lose all our games as long as we beat a 2nd rate Ohio St. team. In the rest of the world, that's called thinking small. How'd Dave put...keep singing your little fight song! Lose to 'Bama and win out the rest of your won't even be in the conversation for the BCS Championship. Even if you beat Ohio'll be just like last year. Everyone outside of Michigan will discount the win (gee, you beat a 1st year coach who had to recruit in the first year of a 3 year probation). Newsflash...You're Expected To Beat Ohio State!!!!!! It won't be a surprise, nor an accomplishment outside of Ann Arbor. But maybe that's the point. You're more afraid to lose a game you're supposed to win, that's why Michigan has historically padded their schedules with such soft teams...Appalachian St. being the exception. Is Interesting, though, how you wait 7 years to reschedule that should be able to turn it around by then. Of course, you still schedule it for a home game...we wouldn't want Michigan to be too challenged, would we.

James Reese

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

SEC Fan I agree to an extent. Ohio St will be back. Urban is taking heat for getting recruits to change their minds and attend Ohio St. The SEC like the Big Ten has a few teams that dominates the conference i.e. Alabama, LSU, Auburn or even Georgia. There are always a few in conferences take Oregon and USC in the Pac 12 which I think give them time Washington will be back on top to. The ACC has Florida St, Va Tech, Big East may be the exception to the rule, but Boise St and Cincy. The Big 12 Texas and Oklahoma, the Big Ten Ohio St, Michigan, Nebraska, MSU and Wisconsin.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

And...I have no doubt that Ohio St., Nebraska, Penn St. etc. will be back. They are too big of schools not to be. But, they're not there yet and that is my point. I read on all these articles how great these teams are. This might be true if you go back 100 years and look at the entire body of work, but today, they are not. Today, they are mediocre at best. I think Brady is doing one heck of a job in recruiting. In 1-2 more years, I truly believe Michigan can be competitive on a national basis. Urban, whether you like it or not, is also doing one heck of a job recruiting, especially in light of the probation Ohio St. is just beginning. Personally, I think Ohio St. will turn it around and be competitive on a national basis faster than Michigan and not just because of the coach. The reality is the only difference between the 12-1 Ohio St. in 2010 and the 6-7 Ohio St. in 2011 was the loss of the head coach. They returned 6 starters on offense and 4 on defense and had a boat load of upper classmen in their depth chart.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

@James. Yes, everyone schedules the cream puffs to up their home games. Hence my satirical comment - at least I thought it was - regarding that "powerhouse" FL Atlantic, who at 1-11 last year, put fear in the heart of the BCS crowd.

James Reese

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 6:52 a.m.

SEC Fan, to me all these comments are in pure fun and entertaining. Good for the soul to read and laugh and what not. However my statement was about cream puff schedule b/c you brought up that the Big Ten schedules nothing, but cream puffs. Well the SEC schedules them too. You got to admit that. I mean look at they're schedules. Who in the Big Ten is good besides Ohio St(who will be back just you watch), That team from Ann Arbor, MSU, them Badgers and Nebraska(when they get back up) Iowa can be added to list.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 12:53 a.m. was a joke. FL Atlantic was something like 1-11... now, you seriously aren't going to start talking smack about LSU's schedule...after who we played last year. You guys are whining cause you only get to play 6 games at home! And let's be honest...outside of Michigan's Bama game, you play no one...who in the Big 10 is even competitive? Wisconsin...but you again don't play them. MSU? maybe...guess we'll see how they deal with the departure of Cousins. Other than that... Look at the actual facts I posted above before you Big 10 supporters start saying stuff. The Facts actually show the SEC has literally dominated since it's inception! Since the BCS era, there's no one else even competitive. The reality is that the Big 10 hasn't done anything since before 1932. But keep on singing that fight song.

James Reese

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

SEC Fan.....Powerhouse in what division 2A, but Bama still has Western KY, and Western Carolina...Your LSU Tigers non-conference schedule only has Washington as a true opponent along with North Texas, Idaho and Towson.....Guess the last three are powerhouses too eh. Georgia has FAU, Georgia Southern and Buffalo, Florida, has Bowling Green, UL-Lafayette, Jacksonville State and Flo St.....Granted the MAC Schools aren't cream puffs and can push a good team, North Texas, idaho, Towson, FAU, Jacksonville State, UL-Lafayette are cream puffs my freind


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

awww...apparently some people here don't actually want to know the facts. Dave, is that the Michigan fight song I hear again? One of my degrees is from LSU, if you must know. But, being in Big 10 land, I think my current nom de plume is most appropriate.


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

again...why is there an SEC fan here?... god I never seen a bigger bunch of losers. You cheer for an entire conference!? That's just sad. Don't you have a team? probably do, Tennessee or that Georgia team that got beat by a Big 10 team last year. In case you haven't noticed the posters here, sans YOU, prefer their in, individual TEAM....not our BIG10 team like you "SEC" homers like to do.


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

@ James. Ahhh...come on, Florida Atlantic re-defines the term "powerhouse" :-)


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

Big 10 is the "historically greatest conference"? want facts, do ya? ok...I got some facts for ya: 1. Bowl Game Records by Conference (thru 2011): SEC 201-157-9 (56% winning record. Big 10: 103 - 119-1 (46% winning record). this is historical affiliation as of 2011. 2. Bowl Game Records by Conference (thru 2011): SEC 200 - 172-12 (52% winning record). Big 10: 121-130-3 (47.6 % winning record). current affiliations as of 2011. 3. Bowl games played: SEC 384. Big 10: 254. 4. BCS Championships: SEC: 8. Big 10: 1 Of course we all know SEC has won the last 6. 5. Total National Championships (since Poll era - 1932): SEC = 19, Big 10 = 13 6. SEC versus Big 10 (Head to Head since creation of SEC in 1932): 73 - 50 - 2 (this is win/loss for teams that played while in their respective conferences). 7. Total BCS Bowl Games: Big 10 = 25 (12 wins, 13 losses 48%). SEC = 21 (15 wins, 6 losses - 71%). All data thru 2011 season. Enough facts for ya?


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

This fellow that calls himself sec could be anyone just trying to pass away his lonely life with nothing better to do. His comments are irrelevant since he doesn't do anything but attack in a senseless manner with no facts as to who his team is or why he is attacking the historically greatest conference that being the Big 10. These mystery trolls do benefit us with a baseless, senseless humor that does help pass the summer months awaiting the return of conference play. Please continue sec troll as your irrational contributions will be meant with much humor and applause. Go Blue !

James Reese

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

SEC Fan, sorry to burst your bubble, but Alabama schedules cream puffs too....i.e. outside of Michigan, they got Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky and Western Caroline come on now


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 10:59 a.m.

@Matthew. Garanimal PJs...I have issues matching.

Matthew Durr

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 4:46 a.m.

"You're more afraid to lose a game you're supposed to win, that's why Michigan has historically padded their schedules with such soft teams." First of all every team schedules soft teams for non conference game in the BCS era. I think you need to check your facts on the historically scheduling soft non conference games. considering that for most of the past 20-30 years we had 1-2 top 5 / top 10 teams for non conference schedule. Sometimes you lose games you should win sucks but, it happens. What do you do when the sec schedule starts do you have split jerseys? Do you wear one teams jersey and another teams hat or do you just wear SeC PJ's?


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Jeff Hecklinski was one of the BIGGEST high school recruiting failures of the past 25 years. Highly touted in the class of '93...and he SUCKED after graduating from Palatine IL High School. He had to bail out of the Big 10 and go to 1AA Western Illinois. Dantonio knows a loser when he sees one! Where's the threat?


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

So, Jeff is a loser and it's obvious by your post that your a winner, right tom?


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

To me, it's like Bo always said, "win the Big 10. Go to the Rose Bowl." But I have to say that TerryStar21 hit this nail square on the head. It's one game at at a time. Are we looking ahead here? msu will never be the rival osu is and we have to bury that and put it to bed by walloping moo good this year and every year after.

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

Mick...I do agree with you on msu not mattering. It frustrates their fans so much, I mean to win four and just get absolutely no respect from anyone in America. Probably the final straw should have been having a good year and watching Michigan get a better bowl, a BCS Bowl win and finish higher on the USA Today coaches poll final national rankings. Then Hoke dominates on recruiting and causes dantonio to lose his cool - what a frustrating time to be a spartan fan.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Both games are important. One is just more important than the other.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

I am glad Brady has taken priority in restoring this rivalry. I am tired of watching people bow down to O-Lie-O. I hope that cheater U never wins another game, but that is not reality since they hired another cheating snake to run their program. All we can hope for is the continued fall of Ohio, or O-Lie-O, which ever you prefer. GO BLUE!!!!!!


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

And the last 100 years ?

James Reese

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Rob, in the last 11 years Ohio St is 9-2 against ya.....Go BUCKS!!!!!!


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Well I hate both OSU and MSU but hate MSU more. So beat the Sparty`s every year like we used to !!!


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

oldguy, hang tight and we will.

James Reese

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Get this the one win that person got over The Ohio state University Buckeyes is all he's getting....The Buckeyes will dominate and beat crap out of him....(Yes since he's disrespecting The Ohio State University by calling us Ohio as if we are the Bobcats who probably beat he as well then I will not mention him or the school until he gets the name right)

James Reese

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Terry you have a point about the coach, but Ohio St will beat your team this fall and will still dominate them...Remember we still have 9-2 edge...


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

But won't be their fault they lose. Let's see: a. Ohio St. cheated b. Ohio St. played too rough c. It was too cold d. It was too hot e. It was raining f. It was sunny g. Michigan had to travel too far h. Refs were against them i. Urban was mean to them j. Those big guys in white/red kept knocking them down. k. Crowd kept saying mean things to them l, They thought those anti-bullying laws were supposed to apply to this game m. The rest of the crowd wouldn't sing our fight song with us n. The SEC won't play a bowl game up North...errr...wrong list. o. The dog ate their playbook. p. someone hid their binkies q. Wait a minute, coach said we were playing Ohio! (not St.)

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

James.....I don't think there is any disrespect on Hoke's part.... if you read his story, he's from ohio and has always called your team ohio - since he was a boy. On the other hand, your statement - "The Buckeyes will dominate and beat crap out of him...", well that's over. The sooner you get used to that, the easy it will be to digest. No, it will always be a good rivalry, but buckeye domination - that's over !


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Four losses to MSU in four years is pretty embarrassing. A fifth loss this year to MSU takes it to another level. MSU is growing into a much better team than it was years ago. A fifth win for the Spartans would prove Dantonio isn't a fluke. This years game is VERY important to BOTH schools.

Blue Marker

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Extra question marks and exclamation points please.


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

Dantonio has a Big 10 best 24-8 record during the past 4 seasons, a Big 10 best 14-2 over the past 2 seasons and had a Big 10 best 7-1 record in 2011! FLUKE???????????????????????????????? HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get ready for loss #5...and I expect the Spartans to PILE IT ON! Where's the threat? There is NO THREAT!


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

It's not embarrassing it's understandable all things considered. Dantonia is a decent coach coaching a decent program. The only real issue to consider here is that one team is Michigan state and the other team is Michigan and that just about says it all except one other point. Look at the overall record and look at the current recruiting. With that being said, congrats to state for the 4 wins but I doubt the future games are going to be so easy.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

1) B1G Championship 2) Ohio 3) MSU and why not 4) Beat Urban for all of his recruits


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

Can't get to 1 unless you first get 3 - and neither will happen this year. Count on it. MSU's D and Denard's arm. Need I say more?


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Success begins with setting goals that are ambitious but achievable, not ones that are impossible.

James Reese

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

I wish someone would remind that person you not playing Ohio Bobcats, but The Ohio State University Buckeyes


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 1 p.m.

So why do you sing Carmen Ohio? Why do you cheer O-H-I-O? Why does your band do script Ohio? You guys are seriously confused.

longtime AA

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

So when the Buckeye fans do their O-H-I-O cheer, they are really cheering for the Bobcats, not OSU? Oh well, i can't wait to get to the next UM game with OSU, to see the Buckeye band do the "Script Ohio State!" Oops, I mean "Script Ohio."


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

What's the difference ? Mich. was better than any school in ohio last year.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Your sentence structure confuses me...


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

we need to beat them both!! which will make a huge statement that the ship has been righted and order has been restored. . . GO BLUE!!!!!!


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

Pretty soon we will be beating them both. Whats the big deal.

Robert Granville

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Hoke would have to be extremely short-sighted to think of this year's MSU game as more important than his first meeting with Urban Meyer's Ohio squad. MSU's 15 minutes are fading while OSU is one year of NCAA wrist-slapping away from returning to previous form. A win over Meyer in Columbus sets the tone for The Game moving forward. We can all see what's going to happen to MSU in the coming years.... a win for them in Ann Arbor would be a last hoorah. It would be an upsetting loss but with no ramifications for the future.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

That's good. A coach should focus on goals that are attainable.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

Ohio State has more historical value but the MSU game is more important as MSU is an intradivisional roadblock.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 11:30 p.m.

The game is still and will always important. Besides, it is assumed that we will beat MSU in the future once Mattison coaches up the new recruits.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

The Michigan State game will never be the #1 priority. I don't know about everyone else but I forgot the MSU game even happened the minute the clock hit 0:00 and Michigan was on top of the buckeye 40-34.


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Tom, so by that logic MSU can't celebrate their 4 game streak against the weakest stretch for a UM team in 100 years either?


Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Where you one of the pathetic fans who rushed the field after beating Ohio State's worst team since 1897? FUNNY...REALLY FUNNY! Where's the threat?

Terry Star21

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

I continue to believe, and always will, that the next game is the most important. For Michigan, rich and proud with tradition, being the Nation's number one college football team has it's high standards. No one is ever over looked, no team is passed in planning and preparation. Media naming of Michigan's most important match ups are just propaganda. Our most important game of this year is alabama. After that it will be air force and so on. And this importance is twofold, as every team we ever play will always know in advance - 'Michigan; They're the Threat, ! in pride, tradition and winning !

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 7, 2012 : 12:02 a.m. are right, the sparty slappies are glued to our site, eager to see what our next move it fear, frustration and jealousy - they are so eager to show their intelligent level and keep us in stitches....too cool (lol). Hoke could care less, winning four out of the last ten and 32% of 100 games is definitely no threat to Michigan, just a minor sidestep. Paul B. makes one final trip south this fall and then he stays home.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

Spartan fans don't need the wolverines attention; after 4 straight wins, I'm pretty sure we have it.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Completely agree, but I do love the fact that Hoke makes it a point NOT to give Sparty the attention that they so desperately crave! Convinced that Sparty fans are the only one's voting down your comment (and that they spend more time on this site than their own). LOL


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

as it should be..... GO BLUE!!


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

New slogan: "Beat Ohio, and get to the game early for gosh sakes!!"