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Bad blood between Michigan, Michigan State explored in 'Divided We Stand' documentary

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

It doesn’t take much to stir up the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, so just in time to get you in the mood for Saturday’s game comes a new documentary that focuses on the football and men’s basketball programs and their mutual dislike, and the satisfaction that comes from beating the other.

The nearly hour-long documentary “Divided We Stand: Michigan vs. Michigan State” will debut Thursday at 11 p.m. on FS1. It was produced by Fox Sports Films in association with Big Ten Network Originals. The show will also air at various times on BTN.

Michigan and Michigan State play Saturday at noon at Michigan Stadium.

Mike Hart runs against Michigan State in the 2007 game.

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, MSU coach Mark Dantonio, MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo and players including former Spartans Kirk Cousins and Javon Ringer and former Wolverines Jake Long and Devin Gardner, among others, along with a number of local reporters, are featured in this documentary.

“I guarantee you if you ask any Sparty fan what a Michigan fan is all about, they’re gonna say we’re arrogant and we think we’re better than them, and,” Michigan All-American offensive lineman Jake Long said, pausing for effect, “we are.”

Carr’s last Michigan-Michigan State game as coach in 2007 is among the most memorable and launched, thanks to running back Mike Hart, the “little brother” commentary.

“When you lose that game, you’re going to have to live with it for 365 days,” Carr said during the film. “The Michigan State people are certainly not going to let you forget it.”

Many of the key moments of the UM-MSU rivalry in football and basketball are played out and discussed in the documentary, but on the football side, the 2007 “little brother” game, the 2015 "trouble with the snap" game, and last year’s pre-game incident at Michigan State get a lot attention and great insight is shared.

The Wolverines trailed by 10 late in the fourth quarter but came back to get the win in 2007, also Dantonio's first season as MSU head coach.

“Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball and you let him get the lead,” Hart said after that game. “Then you come back and take it from him.”

Long, in the documentary, said he thought Hart’s comments were “100 percent” true.

“At the time I thought it was hilarious,” Long says in the documentary. “I still think it’s hilarious.”

MSU linebacker Greg Jones didn’t hold back when discussing Hart.

“How I feel toward him is the same way — I think he’s a little jerk then, I think he’s a little jerk now,” Jones said of Hart.

Fast forward to last year’s Michigan-Michigan State football game and the pre-game dust-up that involved the Spartans doing their pre-game, arm-in-arm march and the confrontation with Michigan players that included Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson. Bush, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, then famously angrily kicked his cleats repeatedly into the Spartan logo in midfield.

“Devin Bush took it personally,” Gardner said. “It was amazing. I was almost in tears it was so amazing.”

Cousins had a different take.

“You know what this means is that they think we’re relevant finally,” Cousins said in the documentary. “You don’t do that unless we’re equal now.”

The Michigan-Michigan State football rivalry continues Saturday, but this documentary will set the table for the game.

“I love to see it matter to UM, because I think there was a time it didn’t matter as much,” Cousins said. “We may still be called the little brother, and that’s fine, but they know we’re here.”

Twitter: @chengelis


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