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Bob Wojnowski and Chris Howard break down the history of the rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State. Later, Nick Hill and Matt Charboneau talk about the Spartans aiming for a 9-3 record. Detroit News

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East Lansing — Michigan State won’t be heading to the Big Ten Championship next week, but that doesn’t change the approach heading into the regular-season finale.

The Spartans (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) head to Rutgers for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Saturday and will be looking to pick up their ninth victory of the season and head into bowl preparation riding high.

“The main thing we keep talking about is momentum,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “Continuing to keep momentum as we go into the bowl game and really relative to how the season has gone this year to finish going (up) like this rather than going (down) like this. That is very, very important. Keep the shine on this football season, and we’ll continue to try and do that.”

2017 MICHIGAN STATE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Where No. 21 Michigan State ends up for a bowl game remains to be seen, but getting a ninth victory could go a long way toward determining where the Spartans send the holiday season.

Most projections have them playing in either the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., for the Outback Bowl in Tampa. Both games are on Jan. 1.

Until then, Dantonio said the emphasis this week will be on beating a Rutgers (4-7, 3-5) team that has lost two straight and likely won’t be playing in a bowl game.

“They have been very competitive in every game,” Dantonio said. “Just watching them on film in the Ohio State game, they were hanging with them, and as the game progressed you saw some mistakes from a young football team.

“Regardless, they come to play and they compete on both sides of the ball. We’ll have to go and play very well to get win No. 9 and that is the goal.”

matt.charboneau@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/mattcharboneau

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