Michigan vs Michigan State Rivalry 2015: Students, Fans Protecting Campus Emblems Ahead of Anticipated MatchupBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
In Ann Arbor and East Lansing, the Michigan vs. Michigan State rivalry game does not start with kickoff, but is a weeklong affair.
For some students and football fans, that means sacrificing free time to protect the school's iconic emblems from would-be saboteurs from the other campus, The Detroit News reported.
Austin Fregene, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Michigan (UM), is planning to camp out by the bronze "M" on the campus' Diag. Around this time last year, Michigan State supporters showed what would happen if the M was left unattended.
The block ‘M’ on Michigan’s campus has been painted green. pic.twitter.com/lGFvnXeVbv
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) October 22, 2014
"The symbol is something we hold near and dear to our hearts," Fregene told The News. "I'll sleep out here if I have to."
But UM football fans have dished it out as well by painting Michigan State University's (MSU) Sparty Statue maize and blue with an "M" on its chest. MSU football supporters are organizing lookouts near Sparty to make sure that does not happen.
Time to paint Sparty MAIZE and BLUE! Hail! Hail! Team 132! #goblue #beatthespartans pic.twitter.com/ju5c6UhA — Support Michigan (@SupportUofM) October 14, 2011
The rivalry is coming alive this year with Michigan State ranked seventh overall and shares a lead with Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State for the lead in the Big Ten East at 2-0 in the conference. Michigan State is also 6-0 overall and has been ranked in the AP poll as high as second.
Since losing its opener to Utah, Michigan has held its next two opponents to one touchdown each before shutting out its last three opponents. Michigan State's offense may challenge the Michigan defense the way Utah's did, but Vegas odds makers are favoring the Wolverines at home nonetheless.
Michigan State fans are keenly aware of this and are using it as motivation. But Michigan fans may have a larger chip on their shoulders, as their team lost 35-11 in East Lansing last season just days after vandals spray-painted their Diag "M" green and then wrote in white "SU."