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Last updated: 12/06/2013 8:08 PM
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Football
Two-Minute Drill: Updates From Mark Dantonio's Big Ten Championship Game Press Conference
By Tony Gerdeman

Mark Dantonio spoke with the media for the final time before Saturday night's championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Here are the highlights.

Mark Dantonio Updates

* Dantonio said they've treated this game as an away game, which they did last year as well. They're not changing anything they've done during their road games this year. That includes their practice schedule.

* Dantonio said this Ohio State defense is the best the Spartans have seen this year.

* Dantonio said that they do still take some things from last year's game. For instance, they now know what to expect from guys like Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and Devin Smith. He said everybody playing is a year older than they were last season, so they're a year more experienced.

* Dantonio said that he knew the MSU offense would eventually find a groove, and it's been gratifying to watch it happen this season. He said last year they were more one dimensional than they are now. He said their balance this year allows them to widen the gap in close games this season.

* Dantonio said he has talked to his team about what this game means for the football program and Michigan State's fans. Their goal every year is to win a Big Ten Championship and play in the Rose Bowl, so the significance of this game is lost on nobody.

* Dantonio was asked for his thoughts on Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde: “In terms of Braxton Miller, I see a magician, a guy with a sixth sense, a guy that can take a bad play and make it a very good play, a guy that can create, a guy that's conceptually – you can know what Ohio State is doing, be right on top of it, do what you do to stop it that particular time, but he can create and make it a good play. We have to be able to defend the loose plays. He's been excellent at that. Second thing, Carlos Hyde is a bull of a runner. He's not just tough, he's fast. We've got to be able to control him. That's designed runs with him. Also has the ability to catch the football.”

* Asked if his offense needs to get out to a fast start, Dantonio said they need to be consistent and have more points at the end of the game, not the beginning. But he recognizes the efficiency with which OSU has performed early in games. He said they can't simulate the speed of the game that Braxton Miller provides, so they'll have to adjust on the fly.

* Dantonio said Miller is more of a tailback type of runner than Denard Robinson. Miller is bigger, stronger and will break tackles.

* Dantonio said they went full contact in practice this year in order to get their defense accustomed to tackling a mobile quarterback.

* Dantonio was asked to describe the Ohio State offense: “What you see is an extremely productive offensive football team that is capable of a big play at any point in time, at any given moment, from anywhere on the field.”

* Dantonio said he talks to Jim Tressel every now and then, just to “settle” him as a person. He listens to his advice. They don't talk Xs and Os, they talk about situations. “This is a big moment. I would like to think he's sitting back and watching. I don't know if he's got green on or not tomorrow night, but maybe.”

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