Rivals Michigan and Michigan State meet at The Big House

NOW: Rivals Michigan and Michigan State meet at The Big House

In-state and Big Ten rivals Michigan and Michigan State will square off Saturday evening at The Big House. The two teams first played back in 1898 and have met nearly every year since 1910.

From some coaches, you'll hear that every game means the same. From others you'll hear a different tone.

"I think that's all coach-talk personally. I think coaches know what games are important. They can stand up here and say it's just another football game, but it's not," Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio said.

The battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy has offered memorable moments for decades.

Historically, Michigan has dominated the series.

But the recent past has been defined by one comment ten years ago this season.

"Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you're playing basketball, and you let him get the lead. You just come back and take it back. Yup," Mike Hart, former Michigan running back, said in 2007.

Hart referring to the Spartans as 'little brother' sparked an all-time response from first-year head coach Dantonio.

"I find a lot of the things they do amusing. They need to check themselves sometimes. Let's just remember pride comes before the fall. This game is an important game. They want to mock us all they want, I'm telling them it's not over. They can print all that crap all over their locker room. It's not over, it'll never be over here," Dantonio said in 2007.

From that point the tide turned and the Spartans took 4 straight victories in the rivalry series - and seven of the last nine.

"I guess that's a rallying cry for some, but I am who I am and react how I react sometimes. My goal was to make it a rivalry. I think it's a rivalry," Dantonio said.

Despite MSU's recent bragging rights, Michigan reclaimed its own glory this past season with a 32-23 victory on the road.

Harbaugh knows the Spartans hope to return the favor by winning their second straight at The Big House.

"Nothing will make you feel more like a man than going to defeat an opponent at their stadium, and defeat their crowd," Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh said.

The last game at Michigan Stadium saw perhaps the craziest finish of all - with the fumbled snap and Spartan return to shock the college football world.

"When you lose at home and lose the way we did two years ago, that bad taste stays in your mouth for a long time. We want to set that straight," Mason Cole, Michigan offensive lineman, said.

Both the Wolverines and the Spartans know, to win in this rivalry means you'll have to bring the physicality.

"This game's always been physical. These two teams don't like each other. It's kind of heated. Our fans don't like each other, teams don't like each other. It's always been like that," Cole said.

 "We don't like each other. You play to the whistle every play and walk that line. Obviously you don't want to cross that line. They're going to try to make us do that but we have to be poised, and be patient. We'll have our chance between the whistles," Chris Frey, MSU linebacker, said.

"You don't want to go out there and worry about somebody pushing after the whistle or yapping off at the mouth. You've got the shoulder pads on. Do it with your shoulder pads, not your mouth," Khalid Hill, Michigan fullback, said.

The talk can wait because when the clock strikes zeroes, whoever comes out on top in this game can leave a lasting legacy.

"I think you're remembered. That's what these games give you. They give you a bit of a legacy. That's why I think these games are so good for college football," Dantonio said.

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