Mark Dantonio: MSU's Michael Geiger isn't in a slump

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing – For the second week in a row, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was asked about his confidence in Michael Geiger.

And just like he did a week ago, Dantonio reinforced his belief in his sophomore kicker.

"I think he is a very goal-oriented young man," Dantonio said. "I think he's extremely confident. I'm not concerned about him."

If he was, it wouldn't be a huge surprise. After missing a 42-yard field-goal attempt last week at Indiana, Geiger is now 7-for-11 on the season and he has missed at least one kick in each of the last three games.

This comes after a freshman season when Geiger missed only once, going 15-for-16. He even had a streak of 13 straight to close the season.

This year hasn't been as successful. He missed in the opener against Jacksonville State but bounced back with two at Oregon and one against Eastern Michigan. After not getting a shot against Wyoming, Geiger was 2-for-3 vs. Nebraska, hitting the post late in the game in windy conditions. He followed that with a miss at Purdue before pulling his only attempt at Indiana wide left.

But Dantonio thinks it's something that will work itself out.

"I do not think he's in a slump," Dantonio said. "We're going to miss some sometimes, there's no question about that. You know, I know that he'll bounce back. He had one miss the last two weeks, really probably the last three weeks, but I'm not concerned about him. I think he's a very confident player, and I think he's a very good kicker."

'We move forward'

To this point in the season, rankings – from the writers or the coaches – mean very little other than a reason to debate.

But until the College Football Playoff selection committee releases its first poll on Oct. 28, it's all there is to go on. And some wonder how much the committee will look at the other polls.

If they are any indication, there is not much consensus on the Spartans. They remained No. 8 in the AP poll but have moved up to No. 5 in the coaches' poll.

All of it matters little to Dantonio headed into Saturday's game with Michigan.

"I think polls are just something to do until the end of the year, to be honest with you, until everything else shakes out," he said. "Because the way it looks right now, you just do your job and worry about the next game on your schedule. And as long as we can do those things, I think one way or the other, we move forward.

"You really have a hard time saying what kind of team you have until the end of the year. "We're really going into the meat of our schedule, and this next one up is a very important game."

Hill climb

Fifth-year senior Nick Hill had the best game of his career against Indiana, running for 178 yards, capping the game with a 76-yard touchdown run.

It was a gratifying game for Hill, who has had very little work as running back in his career but is making the most of it now. It was also satisfying for Dantonio.

"He's been a team player really from day one," Dantonio said. "He's been a kickoff return guy, he's been a punt return guy. When those things haven't worked out he hasn't pouted or gone in the tank. He's kept working. Now you see really the fruition of everything that's happened."