Before the game, Michigan players planted a stake on the field after running out of the locker room shortly before the opening kickoff. Hoke said he presented the stake to the team as part of a speech about "commitment and teamwork in a tough environment" in a meeting Friday night and that the players decided to take it out to the field without his knowledge.
From Hoke's statement:
“I want to publicly apologize to Coach Dantonio as well as the players and supporters of Michigan State for our act of poor sportsmanship displayed pre-game yesterday. I spoke with Mark earlier today and expressed to him that we meant no disrespect to his team."
"As the leader of our football program, I take full responsibility for the actions of our team. We believe in displaying a high level of respect at the University of Michigan and unfortunately that was not reflected by this action prior to kickoff.”
After the game Saturday, Hoke said he wasn't fully aware of the incident. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said he elected to have the Spartans go for a touchdown in the final minute when they already held a 17-point lead in response to the stake planting.
Michigan State defeated Michigan 35-11 for its second straight win in the rivalry and its sixth in the past seven years. The Spartans have won by an average of 16.3 points in those games.
The Wolverines had just 186 total yards in the game Saturday. The loss dropped them to 3-5 this season. Michigan State is now 7-1.
Hoke has been criticized this season for Michigan's poor performance and for the Shane Morris concussion controversy, in which Morris was allowed to stay in and then return to Michigan's game against Minnesota despite later being diagnosed with a concussion. Hoke also released a statement the day after that game to address the incident.
- Ben Estes