Michigan went into East Lansing and vandalized Michigan State’s field before the game, then humiliated the Spartans on both sides of the ball. Shea Patterson braved the elements and made the big plays when they mattered as the Wolverines continued to have national championship dreams with a 21-7 victory.
In a rivalry that is the college equivalent of neighbors blowing leaves into each other’s yard, Jim Harbaugh claimed the high ground. The Wolverines talked a big game and backed it up. A suffocating defense held Brian Lewerke to 5-of-25 passing and 66 yards. MSU managed only 23 on the ground.
A decade of underachieving bred contempt, and Michigan took out their long-awaited revenge on a depleted and overmatched green-and-white side. To victors goes the hailing, and bragging rights.
Defensive end Chase Winovich gave voice to the elation by reviving Mike Hart’s infamous Little Brother comments.
And you know, what? He’s absolutely right.
Saturday’s game was what the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry has been for decades and — some would argue — the natural state of things. In a Michigan elements, the Wolverines were the tougher, more ferocious team. They were the team that found a way to win. Mark Dantonio’s team is the one that folded and let themselves get punched in the face.
The natural state of things feels like it’s been restored. Michigan is on the upswing, and should get a chance to play Ohio State for the a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan State’s surprising run to relevance feels as thought it’s hit a brick wall.
The last 11 years have taught us what we all know about brothers. At times, one is more successful. At times, the other rises up and regains birthright.
Michigan, now, is fully equal, with a bright future. Michigan State is licking its wounds.