Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Tuesday he does not avoid talking to his players about last year's difficult loss at Michigan State.
The Spartans won for the fifth time in the last six series meetings, 29-6, sacking quarterback Devin Gardner seven times and pushing the Wolverines to minus-48 yards rushing.
Hoke, speaking on the Big Ten teleconference, was asked if he mentions that game and uses it as motivation as the Wolverines prepare to play at No. 8 Michigan State on Saturday.
"Obviously, we know what the results were from a year ago, how we played," Hoke said. "These are college kids. There's no question you talk about and look at how they try to attack you from a defensive standpoint and what they did offensively. From that standpoint, you always refer. We do that with every opponent."
Michigan was off last weekend and used the time to prepare for Michigan State. Hoke heaped praise on the Spartans Tuesday when asked the biggest problem they provide.
"No. 1, offensively, all you have to do is watch them a couple games," he said. "The statistics back it up. They're scoring a lot of points, they're very versatile in what they're doing offensively. The execution, you can't execute like that if the guys up front aren't doing their job."
He called Tony Lippett, the Spartans' leading receiver with eight touchdowns and averaging 112.3 yards a game, the best receiver in the Big Ten.
"We've got a lot of work ahead of us," Hoke said. "Going up there in the second year in a row is just part of it. We've got to play our best football game to date."
Injury update, sort of
Hoke has said repeatedly this season he has no interest in discussing injuries and will only reveal an injury that is season-ending.
But senior linebacker Desmond Morgan and freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers have been out most of the season with undisclosed injuries. Could either or both return this season? Could either or both be redshirted this season?
These are not answers Hoke is willing to share at the moment.
He was twice asked about Morgan and Peppers on Tuesday and twice offered little.
"I am not talking about injuries," Hoke said.
Rushing production is typically the key statistic in determining the outcome of the Michigan-Michigan State game.
But turnovers are critical, as well. One team has struggled giving up too many this season, and the other has been successful forcing them while not turning it over themselves.
"We're at opposite spectrums," Hoke said Monday.
Michigan is minus-13, ranking the Wolverines second-to-last nationally, while Michigan State is plus-11.
"Turnover margin in pro football, college football, high school football, pee wee football, whatever football is out there, is a big part of who wins and who loses," Hoke said.