November will be opportunity for MSU to set themselves apart, according to Dantonio
In the past, November has been known as the final drive for a championship and will again serve as a final important stretch for No. 7 MSU starting with No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday.
MSU (7-1 overall , 4-0 Big Ten ) had this past weekend off with a bye but will return to the field this week with its biggest matchup of the season to kick off the month of November. Ohio State (7-1 overall , 4-0 Big Ten ) comes to Spartan Stadium also holding an undefeated conference record, creating a situation where the winner will ultimately hold a two-game lead in the division race with only three games to go.
The winner will also remain in the conversation for a spot in the College Football Playoff while the loser will be eliminated.
Even bigger than the upcoming matchup for MSU is the month of November and finishing out the season strong. MSU’s final four games include Ohio State and Rutgers coming to Spartan Stadium, and road trips to Maryland and Penn State.
Dantonio said November is where teams show their true colors and reveal whether they’re contenders or pretenders.
“The month of November really sets you apart I think,” Dantonio said. “You can fade or you can move forward, and we’ve always tried to put an emphasis on that.”
November has been known as one of Dantonio’s best months during his time at MSU. The Spartans have been 18-5 in the month of November, with winning records each season except in 2012.
Junior quarterback Connor Cook helped lead MSU to perfect 4-0 mark in November last year and said the mindset won’t change this week with every week serving as a “championship game” in conference play.
“Once you start Big Ten play, every game is a championship game, every game means everything, like I said before,” Cook said. “This one is just a little bit bigger because both of us are undefeated in the conference, and we are on the same division. But we are going to just look at it like every other game — have the same mental approach going in just because every single game in the Big Ten technically in itself is a championship game.”
Junior outside linebacker Darien Harris rehashed Cook’s thoughts on the final stretch, signifying November as the month where championships are won. He said having the bye week gave the team a chance to take a step back and improve through self-assessment before making that final push for a Big Ten championship.
“We know that championships are won in November, and that’s kind of the mindset that we take,” Harris said. “Coach D really harps on coming out the back end of the season even stronger then we started the season, so we just take that mentality into practice and film study. And know we got to work that much harder in November.”