Victory for MSU? Spartan seniors say it’s no pipe dream

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — The odds might say otherwise, but Michigan State has a chance to extend a impressive run of dominance over its biggest rival this week.

While Michigan State has lost five straight, it have won seven of eight over Michigan, and if the Spartans manage to win Saturday, it would be the fourth straight and cap a perfect career for players like R.J. Shelton.

It also would mean an impressive run for the rest of the class that redshirted in 2012, the last time Michigan won.

“I’ve been very vocal about it,” fifth-year senior tight end Josiah Price said. “It is a special opportunity and something that we can cherish, that our class can go down as being known for a team that went 4-0 against Michigan, so I don’t think we’re going to shy away from that just because Michigan is having a great season and undefeated so far. We’re still going to try and bring that mentality that we’ve got to come ready to play and that we can win this game and that we will win this game.”

Michigan State has won four straight in the series four times, the last coming from 2008-11. In order to match that, it will take a better performance than the Spartans have had this season.

But for guys like Shelton, the formula is simple and it’s the same he’s been part of the previous three meetings.

“We’ve just got to show who’s the tougher team in Michigan,” Shelton said. “We know we can come out here and do what we need to do against Michigan, but again, it just goes to guys believing in themselves first, guys winning their individual battles and obviously offense, defense, special teams coming and making the plays when it’s critical and when it’s time need be.

“It’s going to be this week who’s the tougher team. The tougher team that out-toughs offense, defense, and wins on special teams going to win this game.”

MSU freshmen green but not alone in culpability

Joining Shelton as a senior who has the potential to never lose to Michigan are running back Delton Williams, cornerback Darian Hicks and kicker Michael Geiger.

Another interesting not is the fact offensive/defensive lineman Brandon Clemons and linebacker Ed Davis have a chance to be part of five winning teams in the rivalry. Each is in their sixth season with the Spartans and redshirted in 2011.

Extra points

Dantonio didn’t give any indication what direction he might go at quarterback — redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke has started the last two games while fifth-year senior Tyler O’Connor, who started the first five, was limited with a foot issue last week.

“It’s probably a game-time decision based on how the week goes in terms of whether it’s (Lewerke’s) play, others’ play, or quite frankly, some injury situations,” Dantonio said.

... Dantonio didn’t update the status of safeties Montae Nicholson and Demetrious Cox or cornerback Vayante Copeland. Each missed most of the second half against Maryland which led to a secondary made up of two sophomores, a redshirt freshman and two true freshmen as part of the nickel package.

“We’re going to see where we’re at as we go through this,” Dantonio said. “We’re going to play our best players, put players on the field that can run and tackle, and know what they’re doing.”