‘All the focus is there.’ Michigan turns its attention to the rival state of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – It wasn’t long before the undefeated Michigan caught attention this week.

Typically, Wolverines trainer Jim Harbaugh advocates spending 24 hours celebrating a win. As he and his team learned last year, they don’t always come in bundles.

But less than an hour after Michigan’s 33-7 win over Northwestern on Saturday, that focus shifted 70 miles northwest in East Lansing, Michigan, the location of the Michigan-Michigan showdown next weekend.

“All focus is there,” Harbaugh told reporters minutes after his post-game press conference. “I knew as soon as I walked through that door I had to answer a few questions about this game. But now it’s about this game. “

Both the Wolverines and Spartans start this season 7-0, monumental turns after disappointing 2020 seasons cut off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan lagged on a 2-4 season with nine game schedule cut due to the virus, while Michigan State went 2-5 in its freshman year under new coach Mel Tucker.

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The two programs are sure to maintain, if not improve, their rankings this week after Penn State number 7 was upset by Illinois on Saturday – and set the stage for a top 10 showdown next Saturday, October 30th, in the Spartan Stadium (noon, FOX).

“Immediately,” said Blake Corum of the preparation. “We have to get ready now. Come in tomorrow (Sunday) and prepare for them. “

To get here, Michigan had to overcome a rather inefficient first half against Northwestern – with just 10 points on 267 yards total attack. Harbaugh’s team came out on the other side of half and dominated with 23 unanswered points to defeat the Wildcats. It was the Wolverines’ fourth win that season in the Big Ten game, a round-up that includes two road wins against Wisconsin and Nebraska.

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“Playing in big games is something we soccer players dream of,” said Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, who was 20 of 27 for 163 yards. “And to win these games and play these big games. Especially beat our rival; Beating them is a good feeling we’ll get this season. That’s one reason why we play. “

Since Harbaugh arrived at Ann Arbor, Michigan has been 3-3 against its rival in the state – with two of those wins in East Lansing. While the Wolverines have won two of their last three encounters, MSU shocked Michigan last year in Ann Arbor, winning a 27-24 game that was later dubbed one of Harbaugh’s worst Michigan defeats.

A lot has changed on both sides since then, making next Saturday’s game an important one. Not only will the winner improve to 8-0 and brag about the next year, they’ll be better positioned in the Big Ten East Division race – and potentially get a shot in the college football playoffs.

“We don’t really dwell on the past,” Security said Daxton Hill. “We’re just focusing on what we’re in control of right now, and that’s Michigan State next week.”

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