Scott Reed - Spartan Digest

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio stresses the importance of Big Ten Conference play as the Spartans get ready for Purdue.

Purdue heads into Spartan Stadium to take on the No. 2 ranked Michigan State Spartans on Saturday and head coach Mark Dantonio knows not only will the Boilermakers look to give the Spartans their first loss on the season, but also knock them down a peg in the Big Ten which is a bigger deal than many realize.

There will be a lot of pageantry taking place Saturday when Michigan State host Purdue in the first Big Ten Conference match-up and 100th homecoming for the Spartans.

While fans and the media are talking about the Spartans as a possible National Champion contender, Mark Dantonio knows taking care of business in the Big Ten must come first.

“We coach in the Big Ten,” stressed Dantonio.  “So that’s what I’m concerned about.  I think coaches basically put themselves in a bubble.  I don’t care what conference you’re in, you sort of submerge yourself in that conference.”

No one has to remind the Spartans head coach that Purdue has always given the Spartans something to be ready for and Dantonio is looking to have his team ready.

“Games have always been close,” he said.  “They have been competitive.  I think Purdue, they have got guys.  Everybody’s got guys.  But if you look at the history of the games, they have always been close and we expect those things.”

While the Spartans have seen solid performances from Madre London and L.J. Scott this season the performance of Gerald Holmes on Saturday might have earned him more carries in conference play.  However, Dantonio also keeps mentioning the unused running back Delton Williams could play.

Is there a chance Williams had an unannounced penalty of sitting out the Spartans non-conference schedule?

“Gerald Holmes I did think put himself a little bit more into that three-group category,” he continued.  “Thought he had a good game, caught the ball well, had a couple of big plays and you have to look at that and say, hey, maybe he deserves more opportunities.  It’s just hard to get those opportunities if you’re rotating three backs.  Delton Williams is available, as well.”

The Spartans host Purdue on Saturday with a noon kickoff set.  The game will be televised on ESPN2.  The Spartans lead the series 34-28-3 and last met in 2014 when the Spartans beat the Boilermakers 45-31.  MSU has won six consecutive games against Purdue going back to the 2007 season.


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