- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The players said they had not thought about it yet, about how they weren't going to get to it until tomorrow, until the pleasure of Michigan's 45-0 victory over Illinois dissipates into an endless amount of re-watching the game to find their own mistakes.
Yet there will always be those constant reminders Michigan can't avoid no matter how hard it tries. The countdown clock in the team's offices at Schembechler Hall for one. The albatross of a four-game losing streak for another.
The it, of course, is Michigan State, and the logical fear entering Saturday for Michigan was looking past a hapless Illini team -- which now has had all five of it losses by at least 17 points -- to the rival no Michigan player had beaten.
That, maybe more than anything, impressed Michigan coach Brady Hoke on Saturday afternoon after his team put together its first shutout since the Wolverines beat Minnesota 58-0 on Oct. 1, 2011. He said he didn't bring up Michigan State once in the past week, and then his team played what he deemed its most complete game of the season.
But with Illinois now over and another win secured, there is a part of Hoke that will always look to Michigan State and Ohio State.
"I hope these guys enjoy this right now, but I don't know if you ever don't think about rivalry games," Hoke said. "I think that's always part of what makes us special being Michigan."