After rushing for over 100 yards to help Michigan earn a 2007 comeback win against Michigan State in East Lansing, Mike Hart made one of the most infamous comments in college football history.
“I was just laughing. I thought it was funny,” Hart said that night. “(The Spartans) got excited, it’s good. Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball and let him get the lead. Then you just come back and take it back.”
Eleven years later, at the 2018 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Michigan State running back L.J. Scott made an interesting statement of his own, calling the Wolverines his “little sister.”
“We get no respect when it comes to them, so that’s pretty much why it’s important to me,” Scott said of the rivalry with Michigan. “I learned that when I first got here as a freshman.”
Upon being asked for the reason behind the lack of respect from coach Jim Harbaugh’s group, the senior kept it simple.
“Because they’re our little sister,” Scott added.
Michigan State running back LJ Scott on what he thinks of Michigan: “They’re our little sister.”
— Michigan Nation24/7 (@247Wolverines) July 25, 2018
The issue with the comment is Scott should not be calling Michigan his “little sister.” He is 1-1 against the Wolverines, sitting out during MSU’s 2017 win for an undisclosed reason.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hart had every reason to make the “little brother” comment. Playing through an ankle sprain in 2007, it was after his final game against the Spartans. He finished his career a perfect 4-0 in battles with MSU.
Down 24-14 with 7:40 left in the game, Michigan backup quarterback Ryan Mallett entered the game. On his only snap, he fumbled. Hart picked up the ball and ran for 19 yards, keeping the drive alive and providing the gateway to a 28-24 win.
In four games and four victories against the Spartans, Hart registered 674 yards (168.5 per game) and two touchdowns. Scott has gone for just 77.5 yards per game against the Wolverines in his career.
Following the 2007 triumph, Michigan won 10 of its last 12 against Michigan State. During those 12 games, the Wolverines outscored their rival by 139 points, 380-241.
Since then, MSU has taken eight of the last 10 games by a combined score of 261-166, a 95-point margin.
Without Scott in MSU’s most recent 14-10 win through a downpour in Ann Arbor, quarterback Brian Lewerke went 11-of-22 through the air for 94 yards and one touchdown. He added 61 yards and a score on the ground.
As a three-star prospect from Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle in the 2015 class, Lewerke was unaware of the seriousness behind the rivalry. Once he stepped on MSU’s campus, he understood.
“It’s something that all of us care about, something all the alumni care about, and we try to play our best and come out and win it every time,” Lewerke said at Big Ten Media Days. “You kind of learn as time goes on that the game means a lot.”
As Lewerke and Scott lead the way, Michigan State plays host to its “little sister” Oct. 20 this season.