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Wolverines offensive lineman says the line of communication has been disrupted between family and friends at MSU this week ahead of Saturday's game. Angelique S. Chengelis

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Ann Arbor — Michigan right guard Michael Onwenu grew up in Detroit, played at Cass Tech and knows many of the players at Michigan State.

The annual in-state rivalry game is Saturday at Michigan Stadium in the first prime-time kickoff between the two.

While Onwenu knows many of the Spartans, there has been no texting or communication among them. Onwenu was asked if they’re avoiding each other.

“They might be avoiding me,” he said Tuesday night with a slight smile. “They don’t want to get hit.

His sister also attends Michigan State, and the two haven’t been texting.

2017 MICHIGAN SCHEDULE

“She knows better,” Onwenu said.

Michigan State has won seven of the last nine, and while the Wolverines know it counts the same as any other game on the schedule, this one is different.

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Wolverines offensive lineman reflects on how he focuses on the Michigan-Michigan State game. Angelique S. Chengelis

“It’s not another game,” Onwenu said. “It means a lot to me and the team. It means a lot but we’re not going to separate this game and say, ‘We gotta do this, we gotta do that.’  We take every game the same. Gotta win every game.”

Defensive end Chase Winovich knows that while it’s an important rivalry game, the Wolverines needs to maintain their poise and keep building on what has led them to a 4-0 record this season.

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Wolverines defensive end on the UM-MSU game. Angelique S. Chengelis



“It’s a rivalry week. You give something a little extra this week for sure,” Winovich said. “They had a good point — it is just another week. We’re going to keep going what we’ve been doing. We’ve kind of laid this foundation for success the first couple weeks, and this is no different.

“It’s 11 people versus 11 people. They have a job to do, we have a job to do and we’re going to see who does it better. They’re gritty, we’re gritty, and we’re going to be ready for this. We had a great practice today, and we’re going to keep building off that.”

Winovich said no one forgets the Spartans’ recent dominance in the series. Michigan won last year, 32-23 in Spartan Stadium.

“I think about all the memories, being on scout team — we don’t do this anymore — taping our helmets green,” Winovich said. “Just the years of abuse they laid on us in recent memory. We remember that. This is going to be a fun one. I look forward to the opportunity to go against them.”

Quotable

Michigan kicker Quinn Nordin on “Inside Michigan Football” radio show this week: “I wanted to be a quarterback, but I stopped growing. So I had to be the kicker.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/chengelis

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