Friday, September 22, 2017

Dantonio and MSU gear up for another prime time collision with rival Notre Dame

                                             Photo Credit: Michigan State Athletics

Over the years, the rivalry with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan State Spartans has seen legendary coaches roam the sidelines such as, Ara Parseghian, George Perles, Lou Holtz and even a young Nick Saban to players who cemented their legacies like Brady Quinn, Charles Rogers, Jason Teague and Charlie Gantt.

After Saturday’s Notre Dame-Michigan State game, the series will be on hiatus until the 2026 season.

The battle for the Megaphone Trophy has seen the results trend both ways over the last decade as Notre Dame won three straight games from 2011-13, while Michigan State also took three of four from 2007-10 and won the most recent meeting in South Bend, 36-28 on Sept. 17, 2016.

A win on Saturday would make it back-to-back victories for Michigan State over Notre Dame and coach Mark Dantonio sees potentially going 3-0 as a morale booster going into the Big Ten conference opener against Iowa on Sept. 30.

“In terms of the intensity of the rivalry, the fact that we don’t play [Notre Dame] for another 10 years, I think you can throw right out of the window because we got big games every week,” Dantonio said in Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference.

“We have to step up in this challenge [against Notre Dame] and finish this phase, so that we can move on to Big Ten conference play. We are excited to play this Saturday and should be a tremendous experience for our young players.”

The atmosphere of the series at night has produced moments over the years from Notre Dame’s come-from-behind win in 2006 from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to Michigan State’s “Little Giants” fake field goal call in 2010, as punter Aaron Bates served as the holder, then took the fake snap from center and found tight end Charlie Gantt for the touchdown to win 34-31 in dramatic fashion.

Moments like the trick play make rivalry games like Notre Dame-Michigan State and this weekend’s edition under the lights more special and Dantonio views it as another chance to create a moment fans  and players will not forget for years, even decades.

“This presents another opportunity to have a life moment and that’s what college sports really does for young people and even coaches,” Dantonio said.

Enjoy each drop Notre Dame and Michigan State for three-plus hours because the well will be dried for a long time.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.