An apparent rivalry is also budding between the two schools over the use of the phrase “Keep Chopping.” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker used the phrase after beating Western Kentucky last week to move to 5-0 on the season. It’s something Rutgers coach Greg Schiano took issue with.
Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights talks to his team during a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on Oct. 24, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
“You know, we’ve been doing ‘keep chopping’ since 2005. And Dr. Kevin Elko is the person who gave it to me. He actually gave it to me in 1999, when I was at the University of Miami. Didn’t just give it to me, gave it to our whole staff,” Schiano said Monday, via 24/7 Sports.
“And it’s funny how things get tucked away and then come out, but that’s become much more than a word in this program. So we really live by that. That’s kind of a big part of our culture.”
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano speaks with a sideline official in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Schiano made the “keep chopping” phrase popular during his first stint with Rutgers. At the height of the Scarlet Knights’ success in 2006, the team went 11-2 behind Mike Teel, Ray Rice, Eric Foster and Tiquan Underwood.
“This is a family, man. And we’ve got to keep chopping. Keep chopping,” he said.
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker talks with officials during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in East Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
In any case, Saturday’s game is giant for both teams. Rutgers is trying to keep pace after two consecutive losses to ranked teams Michigan and Ohio State. A Michigan State victory would carry some weight going forward as it is one of the handful of teams who remain unbeaten.
Michigan State plays Indiana next week and Michigan before the end of the month.