Hoyer Wary of Wounded Rival

Spartan QB Brian Hoyer remembers the defeat to Notre Dame last season -- so much so he spurns his hometown Cleveland Browns for selecting a certain Notre Dame alum in the NFL draft. "I can't (root for the Browns) anymore because they drafted the guy from South Bend," he said.

EAST LANSING - One of these days, Notre Dame's going to win a game, right? So asks concerned Spartan fans as Michigan State heads to South Bend in a big game for both programs.

For Notre Dame the bleeding has to end at some point: Golden Domer's just hope it doesn't take until Navy for that to happen.

For Michigan State, the game represents Mark Dantonio's first road game as Spartan head coach. And he knows that the Fighting Irish not only have gravitas from their storied history, but they also might have an edge when it comes to pure desperation.

"They're backed into a corner a little bit," Dantonio said.

In addition, the rivalry that has developed between the schools has heated things up even more. After the infamous 2005 flag planting following Michigan State's overtime victory in South Bend, bad blood has bubbled to the surface.

Now, after last season's blown lead and devastating loss to the Irish -- which was led by Brady Quinn -- the Spartans have a similar motivator and the rivalry continues to boil, especially for Spartan quarterback Brian Hoyer. In fact, one reason Hoyer has spurned his hometown Cleveland Browns has to do with a selection on draft day. Does he still root for the Browns?

"I can't anymore because they drafted the guy (Quinn) from South Bend," Hoyer said. "That Brady Quinn draft didn't sit too well with me."

Despite his intense dislike for the Fighting Irish, Hoyer maintains a healthy respect for a team he knows will come to play.

"When you play Notre Dame you can throw . . . the records out." Hoyer said. "With any rivalry game it doesn't matter what the record of the other team is, you know, they're going to bring their A-game."

But as they prepare for an intense rivalry this week, every Spartan knows the situation of Notre Dame. Is Hoyer surprised by the struggles of a young Fighting Irish squad and does he think the Spartans will be able to prolong their misery?

"It's a great program, Notre Dame, it's a historical program, so it is a little bit shocking," Hoyer said. "But like I said, you know, they're going to come at us with everything they've got. We have to be ready for it and go down there expecting to play the best that we can."

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