Notebook: MSU to put Notre Dame rivalry on hold after this season
Despite coming off the slowest week of the season — the bye — head coach Mark Dantonio took the podium to address the state of his team.
His Spartans take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come Saturday in front of a national audience. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on FOX as the two schools restore their historic rivalry.
MSU-Notre Dame rivalry put on hold after 2017
For at least the foreseeable future, the Spartans and Fighting Irish won’t meet on the football field. At least, during the regular season.
The two schools square off next time in 2026, a long time away for the long-time rivals. Dantonio said growing up, he always watched Notre Dame on the few channels that were available to him.
Despite the history and the primetime matchup, Dantonio said there won’t be any extra implications to the game. Instead, the head coach stressed it’s just another one of many challenges his team will face — a natural result to playing at a school like MSU.
“I just think that we just need to embrace the rivalry, embrace what's going on, and have fun,” Dantonio said. “As much as anything, I want our guys, when they enter that stadium, that they look around and they understand that this is a life moment.”
Kirk Gibson honorary captain, Ring of Honor
Gibson, an All-American wide receiver for the Spartans, will be an honorary captain and his No. 23 Ring of Honor will be on display at Spartan Stadium. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame on Jan. 9.
The former wideout is well-known for his accomplishments on the baseball diamond. He starred for the local Detroit Tigers then hit a legendary World Series home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.
“I knew that that was the case and he was an outstanding player here at wide receiver and that type of thing and a big-play guy, but I learned a little bit more as I came in,” Dantonio said.
Bye week sent Spartans to Houston, home
During the bye week, several Spartans headed to Houston to provide aid, including Texas natives Darrell Stewart Jr. and Tyler Higby. Around 10 student-athletes made the trek during the weekend.
Elsewhere, other Spartans headed home to watch their high school play, otherwise enjoying their time away from the gridiron.
Spartans continue to receive a vote in the AP poll
For the fourth straight week, the Spartans received a singular vote in the AP poll.
And again, it was Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News who voted MSU in. Every week of the college football season thus far, including the preseason, has had Wilner rank the Spartans as his No. 25 team in the country.
Kickoff vs. Iowa announced, Big Ten tailgate coming
For at least the foreseeable future, MSU won’t be kicking off a home football game at 12 p.m. The Big Ten announced Monday the Spartans and Hawkeyes will kickoff at 4 p.m. at Spartan Stadium, televised on FOX.
The game will be MSU’s Big Ten opener as the first of nine straight games against conference foes. The Big Ten tailgate will also be coming to Munn Field as part of the pregame festivities.
Kickoff and other information for MSU’s game against Michigan has yet to be announced. There is still the chance a night game might be in store for the in-state rivalry.