Commentary

Hoke downplays 'dirty play' questions

Ball is in hands of Big Ten as to whether any Spartans will face disciplinary action

Updated: October 17, 2011, 3:51 PM ET
By Michael Rothstein | WolverineNation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Two days after Michigan State sophomore defensive end William Gholston twisted the helmet of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson as he lie on the ground and on a separate play punched Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke acknowledged that he had seen the replays.

He didn't say much else.

[+] EnlargeDenard Robinson
AP Photo/Bill FundaroWill Michigan State players face any penalties for their treatment of Denard Robinson on Saturday?
"I'm not going to react to it," Hoke said Monday. "I'm a football coach. I'm not a referee or a rules maker. That's not for me to say. Did I see it? Yes. Does that happen in games? Yes. Is it sometimes part of the game? Yes."

Hoke said the Michigan staff submitted plays to the Big Ten offices for review. However, this is protocol after every game. The coach wouldn't expand on what plays he sent, and when asked whether he sent plays of the personal fouls, or specifically the two fouls on Gholston, he said, "I'm sure they have the film if it was on TV."

Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said that, as yet, the league has taken no action against Gholston.

Michigan's first-year coach also was mum on other topics surrounding Michigan State's play:

• Hoke, on whether Michigan State played dirty: "I don't know, that's your opinion."

• On whether Gholston should be suspended, as former Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton was after he punched a Notre Dame player in 2009: "That's not a decision for me."

• Hoke said he didn't know what Gholston said to him when the Spartans lineman approached him after the game -- notable because few players and coaches interacted after Michigan State's 28-14 win. The sophomore said he thanked Hoke for bringing Michigan back from three years of struggles under former coach Rich Rodriguez.

• Hoke called the play that knocked Robinson out of the game -- a late hit by Michigan State defensive end Marcus Rush that was flagged -- "football. You're playing football." Hoke did say he felt probably too much was being made of the way the Spartans played Saturday.

Michigan center David Molk said rough play is usually subjective, but in his opinion "it's never too rough."

"Football is a tough game," Molk said. "The line between cheap and fair is pretty thin sometimes, and really it's in the eye of the beholder. What could be tough play could be rough play, could be too much. They are a tough team that played well."

Michigan State picked up 13 penalties for 124 yards Saturday, including six personal fouls. The 13 penalties were the most Michigan State has received in a game this season, one more than the 12 penalties in a 31-13 loss to Notre Dame on Sept. 17.

"I think it was a cleanly played football game," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Saturday. "A hard-played football game."

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or on Twitter @mikerothstein.

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