EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Mark Dantonio is letting Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh have the last word after Saturday’s dustup.
The Michigan State coach opened his news conference Tuesday saying he was done talking about the pregame flap when several Wolverine players on the field were caught up in the Spartans‘ traditional stadium walk. Dantonio then tried to direct attention to Michigan State’s game this Saturday against Purdue.
“I’ll take no other questions about that,” he said. “Moving on to Purdue. Otherwise, this’ll be the shortest conference, and you guys all drove up here for nothing. So I’ll take questions on Purdue.”
After the incident, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush used his cleats to deface the Spartan logo at midfield. The two head coaches, and their players, traded barbs after Michigan’s 21-7 victory, then again on Sunday conference calls and at Harbaugh’s Monday news conference.
MSU players called Bush’s actions “childish,” while Dantonio himself called the incident “sort of juvenile,” and said Harbaugh’s insinuations were “B.S.” Harbaugh called the altercation “bush league,” then on Monday said it was an “orchestrated stormtrooper march.”
The Wolverines have time to stew about it as they head into a bye week, but the Spartans (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten East) don’t. They play Saturday at noon against a Boilermakers squad (4-3, 3-1) coming off a 49-20 upset of then-No. 2 Ohio State.
“It’s not easy, but it’s part of the process. Moving forward, Purdue is a good team — obviously, they just shocked the world, with beating Ohio State,” said Michigan State running back L.J. Scott, who saw his first action in four weeks Saturday. “Obviously, it’s gonna have to go behind us sooner or later, so just coming in off of a terrible feeling from last week, we’ve just gotta keep a positive mindset.”
Dantonio’s Spartans have won seven in a row against Purdue, but they’re facing a squad that has ripped off four straight wins after starting the season with three losses by a total of eight points.
“Yeah, I mean, you gotta put it behind you,” linebacker Joe Bachie said. “Worry about us. The main thought process right now is that we’re going to get five wins. That’s our goal, that’s what’s on our mind, and looking in the past doesn’t help that at all.”
Dantonio admitted the Spartan defense has its work cut out for it against the no-huddle Purdue offense, but that can’t be their sole concentration this week.
“I always have pointed to ‘What do we do after?’” Dantonio said. “What do we do after any big game, win or lose? Try to point toward that, because I think that’s a reflection of the next step for us.”