Mark Dantonio is no stranger to facing the Buckeyes as underdogs, and he'll have another shot this Saturday as his Spartans enter the primetime showdown in the 'Shoe as 20-point underdogs.
Dantonio knows very well what challenge awaits and was extremely complimentary of an Ohio State team he called perhaps the best team in the country, but he's also not backing down.
Here's what Dantonio had to say about Ohio State heading into this weekend's top-25 showdown:
- Dantonio compared the Buckeye offense to the Michigan State offense: "I think it's 32 touchdowns to 4 is what the deal is."
- On the Ohio State offense: "They've had 500 yards every game but one, and they got 469 in that one. Quarterback has thrown 16 touchdown passes, Justin Fields, and maybe zero interceptions. So they're playing extremely well."
- On the Buckeye receivers: "Throwing the ball down the field, they've got a great group of receivers -- Austin Mack, K.J. Hill, Victor Benjamin — all are back. They've got a couple of new faces as well. Olave burst onto the scene last year."
- On the running game: "J.K. Dobbins, obviously, is an outstanding running back. I think he has 631 yards right now, after five games, and Master Teague is also in there with three something. So outstanding offense."
- On Ryan Day's first season: "I think Ryan Day is doing an outstanding job in his first year there as the permanent head coach. He's got them playing at a very high level, and he's done a great job getting everybody going in the same direction. They continue to push forward."
- "Ohio State has been a dominant program in this conference. I don't think I'm letting the cat out of the bag here. That's been in the '90s into the early 2000s. Coach Tressel was there as well, and certainly when Coach Meyer was there."
- On the prime-time, top-25 matchup: "We've got to just take it one step at a time as we go down there, but we're looking forward to the challenge, national TV game, and it should be a very exciting atmosphere. We've got a lot of players from Ohio on our football team, and they'll come ready to play as well."
- On a player comparison for Chase Young: "I would say I really haven't thought of him in the human context ... We have to be able to control him to some degree because he can wreck a football game."
- On playing such a dominant team like Ohio State: "The nice thing about football is every single week you've got to prove it on the field and you've got an opportunity. It's 0-0 when you start. So that's where we start. We start 0-0."
- "At the end of the day, if you want to be Big Ten champions or the East Division champions, that goes through Columbus, Ohio."
Ohio State's primetime matchup with Michigan State kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday as the Buckeyes look to open the season 6-0.