In less than two weeks, No. 8 Michigan and Michigan State will play under the lights for the first time in series history.
Both athletic departments announced Monday that the annual meeting between the two in-state rivals will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. this year. It will be the first night game at Michigan Stadium since 2014 — an 18-13 win over Penn State — and just the fourth in program history.
The University announced in a statement that the game is already sold out and warned fans it has already seen counterfeit tickets on the market.
Meanwhile, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated a point that he has made clear in the past: he’s not a fan of night games — or later starts in general.
“I prefer if they’re kicked off at 12, 1 on a Saturday afternoon,” Harbaugh said. “It most appeals to my football sensibility.”
The contest against the Spartans may not be the only night game that Harbaugh will have to deal with this year, though. It’s likely the Wolverines will also have to play at night against No. 4 Penn State, which has already picked its Oct. 21 home contest against the Wolverines as its famed ‘Whiteout’ game. A Nov. 18 road game at Wisconsin, meanwhile, could be a late start as well.
Winovich earns award, praise
With his new hair, Chase Winovich may remind some of Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, another fearsome pass-rusher with long, flowing blonde locks.
Yet on Monday afternoon, his coach made a different — and even more impressive — comparison.
“Chase is playing like JJ Watt,” Harbaugh said. “I thought he had his best game ever as a football player.
“… Constant hustle from him. He had a great game. It looked like he was in great shape. It looked easy for him, and it wasn’t. Those were tough elements.”
Harbaugh wasn’t the only one to take notice of the redshirt junior defensive end’s performance against Purdue.
Winovich, who tallied six tackles (four for loss) and three sacks in the 28-10 win, was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week along with Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell. Winovich also earned the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week award on Sunday.
Through four games, he leads the conference and ranks third nationally in sacks.
Harbaugh calls hit on Speight “egregious”
When asked Saturday night for his thoughts on the hit that injured redshirt junior quarterback Wilton Speight, Harbaugh didn’t have much of a reaction.
He did, however, have a lot more to say two days later.
“Having seen it now, I thought it was egregious,” Harbaugh said. “If I had a stronger word to use, I would use it. With all the emphasis on protecting defenseless players, it appeared that the player knew what he was doing. He targeted the head and neck area when a player was on the ground and then accelerated into it.
“I was surprised you had two officials standing back there, both looking at it, plus a review in the press box and that wasn’t targeting and wasn’t a personal foul.”
After the hit, Speight was attended to by trainers for several minutes before leaving the game. He eventually left the stadium to receive X-rays at Purdue’s student health center.
Harbaugh was unwilling to delve into the specifics of his starting quarterback’s injury, so Speight’s status remains mostly unknown. One thing is clear though — he’ll need more than a week to recover.
“If we were playing a game this week he wouldn’t be able to play,” Harbaugh said. “And we’ll assess it as we go.
“… He’s a very tough guy. Very hopeful he’ll be back soon.”