Spartans head into Illinois focused

MSU taking season one game at a time as meat of schedule lies ahead.

Entering a game against Illinois at Champaign on Saturday, Michigan State has a chance to move to 4-0 in Big Ten play and to 7-1 overall.

The meat of the schedule awaits the following week which starts with Michigan, but the Spartans insist the focus is on the next game and only the next game.

"Just focus on the task at hand," sophomore quarterback Connor Cook said. "Don't look down the road or focus in the past. Just focus on the task at hand and that's just playing whoever we're playing, whether that's Iowa or Indiana or Illinois.

"We've just gotta put all of our focus into that game and I think we'll be okay."

Coach Mark Dantonio said going down to play at Illinois is something to look forward to – and a good time for his players to understand how important each game is.

"Obviously, as we go down the stretch in every game, there's a little something more at stake," he said. "I think that's good for the focus of our football team."

He also spoke at volumes about how the team handles success and how it will do so moving forward.

"I think it's good for us at this point in the season to go away and play because of the focus that will be gathered as we do move away," he said. "We look forward to that opportunity and that challenge."

Senior linebacker Max Bullough stressed the importance of being ready to play Illinois, a team he said has its future NFL players.

He also stressed the focus is game by game as the Spartans look to reach their goals.

"We're focused on winning the Big Ten, going to Indianapolis, going to the Rose Bowl," he said. "Every game counts one from where we're standing.

"We're just looking at Illinois. Illinois has a good offense. They're near the top of the Big Ten in terms of yards per game. They got a lot of dynamic, explosive plays that can make plays and have made plays all year.

"We've got our hands full this week."

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