Michigan State and Michigan play on Saturday, marking the 109th meeting between the two teams. Michigan leads the all-time series 69-35-5,. While Michigan State has won 7 of the last 10 matchups, the Wolverines have reentered college football’s elite while the Spartans are climbing back after a 3-9 season.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio isn’t downplaying the rivalry between the state’s two biggest programs.
“Coaches know what games are important,” Dantonio told reporters Tuesday. “They understand. They can stand up here and say, ‘Oh it’s just another football game,’ but it’s not. When you play in a championship game, it’s not just another football game. When you play in a rivalry game, it’s not just another football game. It just has more — it means more. It means more to your fans. It means more to your players on your team from in-state or from that particular rivalry position. It just means more.
“I think it’s great for college football. I think it’s what make college football in a lot of ways. I think people anticipate these games, look towards the schedule and probably look at the season as they’re getting their season tickets and say, ‘Oh, we have that particular game,’ whatever it is, wherever you’re at, at home this particular time. I think that’s pretty traditional across this country, and that’s how we’ve approached it here. It doesn’t mean anybody else has to approach anything in this type of way, but that’s how we’ve approached it here.”
Michigan hosts Michigan State in a night game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. under the lights at Michigan Stadium on ABC. The Wolverines are undefeated at 4-0 coming off a bye week, while the Spartans are 3-1 after a 17-10 win at Iowa.
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