Spartans Look to Bounce Back in a Big Way

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EAST LANSING – How does a team bounce back after a heartbreaking loss? What is the secret ingredient while trying to motivate a team, when there are critics everywhere?

It is simple. Listen to the remarks, turn the volume up on sports talk radio, and allow the chip on the shoulder to form itself into a massive boulder.

After Michigan State lost to Nebraska last week in Lincoln, it seemed the entire world was flipped upside down in East Lansing. Not only did the loss snap a 12-game winning streak, (tied for third longest in school history), but the defeat snapped the school record for most consecutive Big Ten road wins (12). Amidst all of this, the thought of a playoff berth could be immediately erased. A Big Ten title is a distant memory.

However, there is a lot more football to be played.

With three games left in the regular season, the Spartans can still run the table. If Michigan State heads into Columbus and takes down Big Ten goliath Ohio State, and proceeds to win a Big Ten title over an undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes team (assuming Iowa stays unbeaten), it would be extremely difficult for the playoff committee to keep the Spartans out of the final four.

Ohio State has a current winning streak of 22 games. Currently, that is tied for second-longest winning streak in school history behind the 2012-2013 streak of 24 games. The other streak was back in 1967-1969 under Woody Hayes.

Not to mention it was Michigan State that ended the Buckeyes 24-game winning streak two years ago.

Also, Ohio State has now won 29 consecutive regular season Big Ten games. This number squeezes past a long list of conference winning streaks. Currently this number is tied for first with Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles between 1992 and 1995.

That being said, if Michigan State ends these streaks, the balance of power shifts in the Big Ten East.

Not mentioning the fact the Big 12 schools in the mix for a title run have to play each other to close out the regular season.

Coach Mark Dantonio continues to lead the Spartans in their pursuit towards the playoff with a home game Saturday hosting the Maryland Terrapins. Michigan State leads the overall series 5-1, including a 37-15 victory last year.

Maryland’s defense is one of the worst in the Big Ten Conference. The defense ranks 10th in the Big Ten in total defense, giving up 411.9 yards per game, 11th in passing defense (251 ypg), and scoring defense (33.4 ppg). While the Terrapins rushing defense is 12th in the nation, surrendering 161.8 yards per game on the ground.

Senior wide receiver Aaron Burbridge could have a monster day. Currently, Burbridge is 11th in the nation for receiving yards, hauling in 62 receptions for 994 yards, and six touchdowns.

Dantonio’s ball club will play with a lot of anger this Saturday, while showcasing the chip on their shoulder. For the Terrapins, that could mean trouble.

After a loss to Ole Miss in week three the Crimson Tide steamrolled through Louisiana Monroe 34-0, then demolished the eighth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, 38-10.Could the Spartans resurrect in similar fashion?

On Saturday the Spartans look to bounce back with a statement victory to put themselves back in the hunt for a conference championship and a national title opportunity.