Mark Dantonio Weekly Press Conference Coverage
News out of East Lansing is mixed, as the Detroit News is reporting. MSU coach Mark Dantonio (pictured, left) will be missing junior TE Dion Sims, due to injury. Sims has been first year starting QB junior Andrew Maxwell's main target in the passing game. Further, Dantonio, who is in his sixth season as head coach for the Spartans, is making plenty of changes in the two-deep depth chart for MSU.
Entering the 2012 season, both the Hawkeyes and the Spartans returned five starters from '11 on defense. On offense, the Spartans returned eight starters compared to Iowa's six, but injures have fallen to MSU's offense, with TE Sims the most recent victim. The offensive line has been hit hard in '12.
Both teams played Central Michigan in the non-conference. For Michigan State, the Spartans headed to Mt. Pleasant, MI to play @ Central Michigan, which finished in a 41-7 win for the Green. After a bye week, Central Michigan traveled to Iowa City the following week. The Hawkeyes finished on the short end of a 32-31 defeat, with the Chippewas scoring nine points in the final minutes to upset Iowa.
Of course, comparing common opponents can be risky in College Football. However, it certainly should give people pause, as the odds makers saw Michigan State on Sunday, as a 11 point favorite over Iowa. Iowa hasn't been a double digit underdog in the Big Ten, since the 2009 road game at Ohio State in what was termed a Big Ten title game that year. Iowa didn't win, but gave a good showing, in a 27-24 OT loss to Ohio State. By the way, that was Iowa's current QB, senior James Vandenberg's first start as a Hawkeye, during his redshirt freshman year, stepping in for an injured teammate.
The Iowa-Michigan State is typically a close, competitive series. The series favors Iowa 22-19-2. A win on Saturday would give Iowa a 10-10-1 record and move them to .500 in East Lansing. Iowa won in East Lansing in '09 in a 15-13 game, which Iowa scored on the final play of the game, when then Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi hit departed WR Marvin McNutt on 4th down with 0:00 left on the clock.
Last year's game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City was a 37-21 game in favor of the Spartans. The Spartans jumped out to a 31-7 lead, scoring two touchdowns in a 36 second stretch late in the second quarters.
Michigan State will be celebrating Homecoming on Saturday, when they host Iowa.