Pregame dust-up sets stage for UM-MSU encounter
East Lansing — The animosity between Michigan State and Michigan is never far from the surface and less than two hours before kickoff on Saturday, the emotions started to bubble.
Things got heated at Spartan Stadium as Michigan linebacker Devin Bush exchanged words with several Michigan State players then proceeded to dig his cleats into the Spartan logo at midfield before heading back to the locker room.
The Spartans traditionally walk with arms locked the length of the field at home games, and as they reached midfield, Bush and some Michigan players, including Lavert Hilll, opted not to move, breaking up the line. After Michigan State's players kept walking, Bush continued to yell and was pulled back by Michigan staff.
While the Spartans continued to the end zone, Bush turned and dug his cleats into the turf at midfield. Later, a Michigan State grounds staffer was busy fixing some of the gouges left in the field.
According to Michigan officials, the Spartans were late for the walk, which was supposed to take place at 9:50 a.m, meaning the Wolverines were allowed to take the field at 10 a.m. That's when the incident took place.
"Their staff should have stepped to the front and asked our guys to move or not allow Michigan State to walk out until the field was clear," Michigan football spokesman Dave Ablauf said. "That's a game management issue. That's why the incident took place."
Ablauf said Wolverines players were “clotheslined” by MSU players and that Hill had his headphones ripped out.
Michigan State officials declined to comment.