ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Dymonte Thomas has gained wisdom from one of Michigan’s more notable losses, two years ago at Michigan State.
But, Thomas said, the Wolverines may have deserved some of that drubbing on that Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich.
Before the 2014 game, Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden rammed a tent stake into the ground in an attempt to motivate his team prior to the annual rivalry game against the Spartans. Word of the gesture quickly spread after Michigan’s loss, a game in which the Spartans punctuated the 35-11 win with Jeremy Langford’s touchdown with 28 seconds left.
The following day, Michigan coach Brady Hoke issued an apology for the pregame action. Six days later, Bolden labeled it as “a misunderstanding” and that it was simply an attempt to motivate his team, which muddled through a 5-7 season ending with Hoke’s firing.
Two years later, as No. 2 Michigan (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten Conference) prepares for Saturday’s game at Michigan State, Thomas and his teammates have some perspective on what happened.
“They disrespected us, but we did a very disrespectful thing before the game,” Thomas said. “We put that spear down the middle of the field, it made them mad, so they gave us their best game. Rivalries like that make it special, and I remember them doing that to us. But I was like, ‘All right, we disrespected them, they disrespected us.’ But we weren’t sorry for it.”
“We were like, you know what, we lost, let’s continue to move on, let’s continue to get better. This is going to be a big game for us.”
Thomas also understands the significance Saturday’s game has for the Spartans (2-5, 0-4), who enter on a five-game losing skid.
“To them, they know this is a big game for them, especially because it’s a rivalry. It’s at their house and they are looking for a win,” Thomas said. “Coach Harbaugh would say we’re desperate for a win as well. But they’re going to give us their best shot. If they win, it would make their season. Our job is to make sure that won’t happen.”