November 2, 2007

Notebook: Time to reaffirm rivalry

EAST LANSING � Michigan State junior quarterback Brian Hoyer and his teammates understand that defeating Michigan means more to their program than finally getting a victory over the Wolverines after coming up empty handed in the past five meetings.

MSU head coach Mark Dantonio stood in front of his team earlier this week and motivated them with one simple question: "How long will we continue to bow to the University of Michigan?"

While the answer to that question might not be as simple as it seems, the Spartans can begin to respond to their coach's query with a victory over the Wolverines in Saturday's 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Spartan Stadium.

"In our team meeting (Sunday) night he said that," Hoyer said of Dantonio's motivational question. "And when he puts it that way it kind of sparks you a little bit and makes you think no one on this team has beaten the University of Michigan. So we can't go on like that forever. It's a mindset and it's an attitude that needs to be established here. We can't look at them as superior to us. We got to come out and battle those guys like they're any other opponent and, in the same sense, they are our bitter rival. So when he puts it that way it really hits you in the sweet spot."

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