By Adam Biggers
Honestly, I can't take full credit for the following. MLive.com's Graham Couch did a wonderful job of gathering Michigan Wolverines-related quotes from Michigan State Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.
However, after Dantonio's gem yesterday, implying he's not threatened by Michigan, I started thinking of all the uber-quotable phrases from the Spartans' sixth-year coach.
Dantonio has never been one to take obvious, hate-filled shots at Michigan. He's more or less subtle and witty while doing it -- until yesterday, of course. But even then, his words weren't out of line. They were great for the rivalry.
I can remember the escalating confidence Dantonio displayed since his first win over Michigan: A 35-21 romping in Ann Arbor in 2008. Dantonio was even optimistic after a four-point loss to Michigan (28-24) in 2007.
Here's a look at Dantonio's Wolverines-related phrases. Of course, Couch beat me to the punch -- so kudos to him. But if you follow Michigan State football, Dantonio's words about Michigan likely linger in your mind.
From Couch's latest Michigan State post: (Thanks, Graham). I took the liberty of explaining the quotes/adding context for further clarification. The direct quotes from Couch's post are italicized.
Nov. 3, 2007: "Let's just remember, pride comes before the fall," Dantonio said, repeating the phrase, shortly after Michigan's 28-24 win at Spartan Stadium in his first season as Michigan State's coach.
"This game is an important game. If they want to mock us all they want to mock us, I'm telling 'em, it's not over. … It's not over and it'll never be over here ... It's just starting."
[2007 was Michigan's sixth consecutive win over Michigan State.]
Oct. 25, 2008: "I'll go on the record as saying this one counts as more than one," Dantonio said after the Spartans' 35-21 win in Ann Arbor. "We took a step forward in the eyes of the people in Michigan and toward changing the culture in this state."
[The win in Ann Arbor was Michigan State's first since 1990.]
Oct. 3, 2009: "We did something that hasn't been done in 42 years," Dantonio said after Michigan State's 26-20 overtime win in East Lansing, its first back-to-back wins over Michigan since the late 1960s. "That's amazing. But facts are facts. This game has a way of defining you."
[Dantonio was referring to Michigan State's first back-to-back victory over Michigan since 1965-66. The Spartans went on to post their third straight in 1967.]
Oct. 9, 2010: "The only response I have is maybe some day the little brother grows up," Dantonio said after a 34-17 victory at the Big House, referencing former Wolverine running back Mike Hart's now famous line following Michigan's 2007 win over the Spartans. This was also Dantonio's first game back after his heart attack suffered three weeks earlier.
[Dantonio was referring to former Michigan star running back Mike Hart's "Little Brother" comment, directed toward Michigan State, which Hart viewed as a little brother struggling to compete with his big brother. The victory was Michigan State's third consecutive, a feat it hadn't achieved since 1965-67.]
Oct. 15, 2011: "Times have changed," Dantonio said, closing a brief postgame live television interview on the field after Michigan State' 28-14 win in East Lansing, its fourth straight against Michigan.
[Michigan State posted its fourth consecutive win over Michigan for the first time since 1959-62. Dantonio believed that win showed Michigan State wasn't lucky in winning four in a row, but that Michigan State was indeed the state's best program.]