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Published: Sunday, 10/8/2006

St. John's Fields kicked well but MSU failed

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR - Michigan State punter Brandon Fields did his part against sixth-ranked Michigan.

The Toledo St. John's graduate punted four times yesterday for a 53.8 average at Michigan. Two of his punts sailed 63 yards.

Yet, Fields' solid outing came with Michigan State falling 31-13 to Michigan before the 197th straight sellout crowd in Michigan Stadium. It was the fourth year for him to come up on the losing end of the in-state rivalry game.

"Today, I did very good," said Fields, a Michigan State senior, who entered the game averaging 44.5 yards per punt for the season. "I've started going back to the basics."

He went 0-for-4 against Michigan for his career.

"We shot ourselves in the foot and made too many mistakes," he said, of the Spartans' latest loss to UM.

"It [Michigan Stadium] is definitely a great environment to play in. I've always wanted to come in here and get a win."

Legendary history: The meeting between the two rivals was the 54th in respect to the Wolverines and Spartans playing for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

The annual meeting for the trophy depicting the legendary folk hero began in 1953 when Michigan State joined the Big Ten Conference.

Then-Michigan governor G. Mennen Williams donated the statue that stands approximately four feet tall.

Michigan has had possession of the trophy almost as twice as much as Michigan State. The Wolverines own a 33-19-2 edge since the Paul Bunyan Trophy has been at stake.

Overall, the Wolverines are 66-28-5 in 99 meetings with the Spartans.

Region well-represented: In the latest chapter of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio were well-represented on the field.

Punter Brandon Fields (St. John's) and tight end Kellen Davis (Adrian) were in uniform for Michigan State.

Safety Willis Barringer (Scott) and Patrick Lyall (Adrian) were on the field for Michigan.

Cheers for the Tigers: On a day when Michigan had little trouble dealing with Michigan State, the normally enthusiastic fans made it clear Major League Baseball, particularly the Detroit Tigers, was in their thoughts.

The sellout crowd produced its loudest cheers whenever the score of the Detroit Tigers-New York Yankees game was announced or shown on the stadium scoreboards.

Cheers were heard even in the press box, which is typically considered a no-cheering zone. The press box public address announcer even commented that there's no cheering in the press box "unless you're cheering for the Tigers."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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