Football

Junior corner Ambry Thomas played with Michigan State linebacker Tyriq Thompson at Martin Luther King High School.

When you consider the connections that lie in every corner of this rivalry, it’s no surprise that Michigan-Michigan State is known as one of the ugliest matchups in college football. For players throughout the state who grew up devout in this rivalry, whose lives are ingrained in this rivalry, this is their holy grail.

Michigan State is looking to beat Michigan for the ninth time in 12 years on Saturday.

EAST LANSING — Cody White has only one message for Michigan State’s underclassmen this week.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is 20-23 since 2016.

This matters because Dantonio is about to lead his team into the biggest game of its season. And, perhaps more than any other point in his 13-year tenure as Michigan State’s coach, the Spartans’ season is tied into the result.

Sophomore defensive end Aidan Hutchinson grew up around the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Aidan Hutchinson knows what this rivalry is all about. He grew up in Dearborn, less than 100 miles from both schools. He heard stories about it from his dad, a standout linebacker at Michigan in the early 1990s. In high school, he was recruited by both sides.

Junior wide receiver Nico Collins had a 51-yard catch against Maryland but no receptions the rest of the game.

For four years, Collins terrorized defenses with the athleticism and imposing frame that made him one of the most talented players Hood has coached. Watching from the stands all those years, Hood’s kids idolized Collins and watched in awe as he accounted for 2,773 yards and 40 touchdowns in his career with Clay-Chalkville. So now, when they watch Michigan together, their pride is a family affair. “My kids still look at the TV, ‘Where’s Nico?’ Hood said. “… It’s really fun to watch.” Thousands of miles away in Ann Arbor, Michigan fans find themselves asking the same question every week. For them, it’s a matter of frustration, sparked by the contrast of Collins’ generational talent paired against his inconsistent usage.

Despite two losses on the season, the Michigan football team still has three chances, including two rivalry games, to make a statement.

A two-loss Wolverines played a Maryland team that likely won’t qualify for a bowl. Michigan won, 38-7, in a game it was supposed to win by something like that score. The outcome was never in doubt. A healthy percentage of the fans in College Park wore maize and blue, and then went home happy.

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It seemed destined to be another boring, easy, road win for Michigan, and save a few special-teams plays that kept it just interesting enough, that’s exactly what it was. The Daily breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly from the Wolverines’ 38-7 win:

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COLLEGE PARK — Jim Harbaugh is not one to disclose his gameplan, even after a win.

But whatever he envisioned for Saturday’s trip to 3-5 Maryland, giving up a pair of six-minute drives into the red zone before halftime wasn’t it.

Senior safety Josh Metellus had nine tackles and an interception on Saturday.

COLLEGE PARK — After the ball had found Josh Metellus and landed in his hands like a soft pop-up, after he had gotten up from the pile and turned toward the sideline and after Maryland’s hope of doing something had been extinguished as much as mathematically possible in the first quarter of

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COLLEGE PARK — Giles Jackson had scored a touchdown before, back in September. But that one didn’t feel right.

Jackson ran the wrong route then, and though he caught the pass anyway — in the fourth quarter of a 52-0 blowout of Rutgers — the score was somewhat meaningless.