MSU Football: Romp over Michigan Calls Brady Hoke's Program into Question

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MSU Football: Romp over Michigan Calls Brady Hoke's Program into Question
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines had two weeks to prepare for Michigan State, their biggest rival game after you-know-who.

I’d hate to see what would have happened if the Wolverines had a month to work with.

Michigan was battered, bruised, tossed around like rag dolls and chewed up and spit out on Saturday—by their “little brother.”

That was the best that coach Brady Hoke could come up with in 14 days of prep?

In college sports, sooner or later someone will take your mask off. You can pad your win-loss record all you want, but eventually your warts will be exposed. You can’t run away from who you are forever—even it doesn’t happen until your bowl game.

Hoke is the “Michigan Man” UM fans so desperately wanted after three years of Rich Rodriguez, aka The Uncola.

Bring back Hoke Classic!

The Michigan team that moved around like zombies on the football field in East Lansing on Saturday, to the tune of a 29-6 beatdown, wore the Dazed and Blue. I’m surprised an APB wasn’t put out, because Michigan didn’t show up. Someone ought to be worried sick. Better call the players’ folks.

Hoke bleeds blue, and there’s a lot of that blue blood on his hands this morning.

“We didn’t get it done,” Hoke understated to the media after Saturday’s debacle, in which MSU sacked Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (we’ll get to him later) 77 times. OK, so it wasn’t 77—it was seven. Could you tell the difference?

If I’m a Michigan alumnus and I watched that garbage on Saturday, I’d want my money back.

Two weeks of anticipation, and not just to play MSU but to continue the quest for a Big Ten title, and that was the best Hoke’s preparation could come up with?

Michigan played as if they didn’t watch one frame of film on the Spartans. MSU emasculated the Wolverines. It was a program-denting loss for Hoke. More like a totalling.

Michigan, it was universally accepted, was likely overrated in the preseason and even in the season-season. But I don’t know if anyone saw an outclassing coming like what happened in East Lansing on Saturday.

“We turn back the clocks tonight, so the kids will have an extra hour to celebrate,” MSU coach Mark Dantonio was heard on the radio during post-game coverage on 97.1 The Ticket, referring to his “24-hour rule” of enjoying victories.

Dantonio deserves to crack jokes. He was the Gallant to Hoke’s Goofus.

See Gallant prepare. See Gallant get his team ready. See Gallant keep his team’s focus.

Now see Goofus, who had two weeks to prepare. See Goofus waste his two weeks.

Michigan played as if they crammed the night before for a final football exam, sans coffee or Five Hour Energy.

Now, as promised, more on U-M QB Gardner, who wore Tom Harmon’s old No. 98, unproudly.

Gardner was sacked a lot, and some of it was due to pockets collapsing like houses of cards. But I was disappointed in the lack of escapability that Gardner showed. He seemed to be running in slow motion, or in wet cement, all afternoon. It was too easy for Spartan pass rushers to track him down.

Gardner isn’t ready for the bright lights of college football. Frankly, his team isn’t, either.

Bo Schembechler’s body likely turned over in its grave, when it wasn’t spinning, that is.

Where was the toughness? Where was the power? Where was the smash mouth?

MSU had its way with Michigan—all but toying with the Wolverines. Actually, there was probably some toying going on out there, too. It was hard to watch, yet you couldn’t turn your head away. Kind of like a grisly wreck on I-696.

If this is what Michigan truly is—and to be fair (or horrified), there are still four games left—then there needs to be some serious soul-searching about Hoke’s program. This is his third year now, and against MSU, anyway, it’s getting worse.

Sure, Michigan could pull off the upset of the year and beat you-know-who in Ann Arbor, and if they do that, Hoke will have bought some time. The MSU nightmare will be shoved a little further back in the memory bank.

But even an unlikely win against those guys from you-know-where can’t totally put to rest the concerns that Michigan people should have about Hoke and the direction of the football program. Don’t forget the stinkers earlier in the year, such as the embarrassing win over Akron.

You can’t outrun your identity in college sports. It catches up to you, sooner or later.

Michigan football, on Saturday, created a new twist on a legendary line.

That’s one small step back for now, one giant leap backward for Bradykind.

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