EAST LANSING – Michigan State, less than a year after missing the postseason, is one win away from qualifying for its 10th bowl game in Mark Dantonio’s 11 years.
And it’s only the midpoint of the season.
“Well, you got to win six to go. That's my assumption,” Dantonio said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “Really I've always just approached it one game at a time. Even last year, even when we were coming down the stretch, I felt like we could win our last football game. That's the approach we've always taken here.”
After going 3-9 a year ago, 19th-ranked MSU arrives at the season’s midpoint with a 5-1 record and at 3-0 in the Big Ten. Up next is Indiana (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) at Spartan Stadium.
And Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game (ABC) is a second chance in three weeks for Dantonio and his Spartans to showcase how far they’ve come in such a short time.
“It speaks to tradition that we have here,” Dantonio said. “(It shows) 2015 was not, ‘Oh, hey, they won a championship in 2015. Wonder how they did that?’ We had won others. Won a lot of football games here. The expectations and the foundation was to win football games, go to bowl games. We had double-digit wins here five times.
“Those are the expectations. When we didn't succeed in doing that last year, there was pain in that.”
INJURY UPDATE: Asked why sophomore wide receiver Trishton Jackson dressed but did not play at Minnesota, Dantonio said he does not talk about injuries.
“He has to get himself back,” the coach added.
DEPTH MOVES: True freshman Connor Heyward is now listed as MSU’s starting punt and kick returner after making his debut in those roles in Saturday’s 30-27 win over the Gophers.
The remainder of the Spartans’ projected starters for Indiana remains the same. Junior David Beedle, who has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury, remains listed as a co-starter at right guard with true freshman Kevin Jarvis.