Two weeks after suffering a loss at Oregon, Michigan State football will hit the field in an in-state matchup against the Eagles of Eastern Michigan University.
In his weekly press conference on Tuesday, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio emphasized that the key goal is to win the game, as well as to live up to expectations.
In preparation for the game against Eastern, Dantonio noted that MSU’s opponent in this game will not roll over despite being huge underdogs.
“When you turn on the film, that’s what you see, you see guys playing hard,” Dantonio said. “They make some mistakes, but they play hard. Any time you do that you always have a chance.”
In their first game of the season against Jacksonville State, MSU jumped out to a 38-0 lead in the first half, and went on to win the game 45-7. In the era of the College Football Playoff, many are jumping to the conclusion that winning games by big margins will be important when it comes down to being considered for a spot in the four-team playoff. Dantonio has said again that his gameplan will not change because of assumptions like that.
“We are going to play to win. After that is accomplished we are going to try to get our younger players playing,” Dantonio said.
Oregon called a timeout with 1:27 to play in the game against Michigan State when the game was already looking out of reach for the Spartans. The Ducks ended up going for it on fourth down and scoring a touchdown, adding to their lead.
While Dantonio did say he would not call a timeout in order to increase his team’s lead in the game, he noted that he thought Oregon coach Mark Helfrich made the right decision calling a timeout.
The Spartans open at 45-point favorites against Eastern Michigan. Dantonio is not looking much into the point-spread.
“In 2012 we were down 7-6 at half. I think we were 30-point favorites. Our guys need to come ready to play. If there’s a message out of this press conference, that would be the message. We need to be ready to play.”
Dantonio added that Saturday’s game is not just about EMU, it is about being prepared to play in front of 76,000 people and all the anxieties that come with playing college football.
The Spartans will take on the Eagles at noon this Saturday, Sept. 20 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports
Photo: Bradley Allen/Impact Sports