Spartans' next opponent? Hmmm, let them think about it
Bloomington, Ind. — The Spartans weren't biting late Saturday evening outside of their locker room at Memorial Stadium.
No. 8 Michigan State had just beaten Indiana, 56-17, meaning the focus could now turn to next week's matchup with archrival Michigan.
But according to what the Spartans were saying, the game next weekend was the last thing on their minds.
"I haven't even thought about it," senior offensive lineman Connor Kruse said. "Honestly, I haven't. I just want to hang out with my buddies tonight. Tomorrow night, for sure it will be all about Michigan, but right now I want to celebrate this win."
The game might not have much riding on it this season as Michigan State is fighting for another trip to the conference championship game and a potential spot in the College Football Playoff while Michigan has one conference victory and its coach is under intense pressure.
But that will mean little to the players involved.
The Spartans have dominated the recent history of the series, winning five of the last six. And they'll be happy to talk about it — just not right now.
"Tuesday," quarterback Connor Cook said when asked when he would start thinking Michigan. "We're going to enjoy this. When it comes time to talk about Michigan then it comes time to talk about Michigan. So we're gonna enjoy this. We're gonna go back to East Lansing and enjoy this for the next 24 hours and when it comes time to talk about Michigan, we'll do that."
Even the outspoken Shilique Calhoun wouldn't crack.
"A preview?" he said with a big laugh. "Nothing extra. Just the same old Shilique, just ready to play another game. That's it."
So no bulletin-board material was coming out on this night, but there is no doubt the emotions will be ramped up over the next few days.
"It's always a great week," coach Mark Dantonio said. "It's a great week for college football, it's a great week for our program and we've always embraced it."
Junior center Jack Allen did not play after injuring his ankle last week against Purdue. Dantonio said after the game that Allen could have played and warmed up but was not needed.
Kruse made his first career start at center in his place, a week after he made his first start ever at right guard. He admitted there were some nerves early and missed a snap count with Cook, but as the game played out he felt comfortable.
"They started throwing some different defenses at us and some different blitzes," Kruse said. "But the more I saw it and we talked about it on the sidelines, the better it was toward the end of the game when we stated moving the ball."
Michigan State recorded 662 yards of total offense against Indiana, the most in the Dantonio era, and the fourth most in school history.
… Michigan State tied a school record by winning its eighth straight Big Ten road game.
… Indiana had just 11 yards passing, the fewest allowed in the Dantonio era.
… Jeremy Langford had 21 carries for 109 yards, marking his 11th straight 100-yard rushing game vs. a Big Ten opponent.