There should be no surprised the Big Ten Championship Game will be won in the trenches between Michigan State and Iowa.

It should be no surprise to those who follow Big Ten football that Saturday’s match-up between Michigan State and Iowa will be won in the trenches against two programs known for their physical play. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio talked about that battle and more during his weekly press conference.

For years Iowa has been known for producing high level quality offensive lines used to help the Hawkeyes win many games.  This season the Hawkeyes look as if they have regained  their dominance and Mark Dantonio knows it will be an area one to watch.

“I think the match-up is a good match-up for us,” said Dantonio.  “But we are going to have to play square and be in our gap, and we can’t be playing sideways against Iowa, because they’ll split you.”

But Dantonio knows the Hawkeyes are not a one dimensional program under Kirk Ferentz.

“Kirk Ferentz has done an outstanding job there in his time, 17 years,” he said.  “He’s built a culture there, he’s built a program, he’s built a legacy there, and it will be a great challenge for us to be able to play and be successful.”

Just like Ferentz, Dantonio feels he’s also laid a great foundation in the Spartans program reaching goals others may have thought unattainable..

“We built this program to a point where those are our goals now,” he said.  “Initially our goals were to do other things but these -- this is where we’re at now.  This is why we’ve come here.  We recruited to these goals, and the fact that we’ve reached to this point we’ve reached here, we’re at this point, gives credibility to what we talk about here.”

Where could the Spartans find an advantage against the Hawkeyes?  One might feel the fact Dantonio has taken his team to Lucas Oil Stadium in the past will help.

“I think it’s an advantage for us internally,” he explained.  “I don’t know versus them and all that, but for us, having players that have gone there in ‘11, and some of them sat in the stands, because you are only allowed so many players on the field.

“Some of them were on the sidelines, did not play, but they experienced the game, and then going there in ‘13, a lot of guys played in that game and being successful there.  This is the third time in five years that we have been able to go and play for a championship.  So I think that -- that can’t hurt us.  That can only help us.”


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