EAST LANSING - Michigan head coach Brady Hoke was given every opportunity to make excuses for his team's 28-14 loss to in-state rival Michigan State. But the first-year Wolverine head coach gave his opponent credit instead.
"First I want to give Mark (Dantonio) and his coaching staff credit," Hoke began. "They outcoached us and outplayed us and we've got to do a much better job of coaching this football team in a lot of different ways. Our kids I thought fought when we were down. I thought they responded well and to be honest I don't think that they thought they were ever going to lose the game, not until the game was over."
The game was over when Isaiah Lewis returned a Denard Robinson interception 39 yards for a touchdown to put Michigan State up 28-14. On the next possession Robinson left the game after getting hit by redshirt freshman defensive end Marcus Rush, who was flagged for roughing the passer on the play.
When asked if Robinson had been injured by a cheap shot, Hoke tried not to take the bait.
"I have no clue," said the first-year Michigan coach. "I didn't see it to be honest with you. My eyes were down the field."
Hoke was later asked if Michigan State was a dirty football team because of the multiple personal fouls they were called for against his team.
"I don't know how they played dirty," Hoke answered. "They had some personal fouls, late hits on the quarterback, but you can get those all of the time."
Hoke went on to praise Michigan State for its defensive game plan and ability sack Michigan quarterbacks seven times in the game.
"They were overloading us a little bit," Hoke said. "Mark does a good job, Mark is a good coach, a good defensive coach and believe me, his fingerprints are all over the defense here. They overloaded us a little bit. Their timing was well and they do nice job of jumping snap counts. I think they did things the way they were supposed to."
The real culprit in Michigan's fourth straight loss to their in-state rival was an inability to run the football.