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Michigan State University soccer coach Mark Dantonio previews Spartans’ sport at Ohio State.
Chris Solari/Detroit Free Press

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio after the Spartans beat the Buckeyes within the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game.(Photo: AJ Mast AP)

EAST LANSING — Mark Dantonio was requested about Michigan State being an enormous underdog headed to Ohio State this weekend.

A smile began to unfold throughout his face.

“It’s gone to 16, huh?” he poked, drawing laughter from reporters.

It’s proper the place Dantonio and the Spartans have been at their finest. In so some ways.

From lacking a bowl sport to contending for a Big Ten title. It’s a exceptional one-year transformation for MSU. And Dantonio is aware of what’s at stake for the 16th-ranked Spartans once they journey to No. 11 Ohio State this week (midday, Fox). He’s been there earlier than.

More: Michigan State: Mark Dantonio needs Spartans certain, not overconfident

More: Inside the Spartans: Michigan State survives storm to be contenders

In Ohio Stadium. In the hunt for a championship. In a significant November sport towards the Buckeyes. In the function of being closely doubted with giant, looming odds stacked towards the Spartans.

Yet MSU (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten) nonetheless maintains its personal destiny. Win Saturday, and the Spartans might be headed again to Indianapolis.

“We have a lot to lose,” Dantonio mentioned throughout his weekly press convention Tuesday. “We’re in control right now, so we do have a lot to lose. And we want to stay in control.”

BUTLER OUT: Dantonio mentioned Josh Butler deliberate to return to campus later Tuesday, however the sophomore cornerback won’t journey with the Spartans to Columbus and as a substitute shall be in Texas for his father Steven’s funeral on Saturday.

Steven Butler died Saturday morning, hours earlier than MSU upset Penn State. Butler realized about his father’s demise simply earlier than the crew headed to Spartan Stadium and began the sport at cornerback.

“It’s been difficult,” Dantonio mentioned. “He is basically the person that’s sort of in charge, you know, going through the funeral home and doing the things that have to be done. Which, you can imagine at that age, 20 years old, how difficult that must be.”

TRESSEL TALK: Asked if he ever thought of taking up as head coach at Ohio State — he was defensive coordinator beneath Jim Tressel there — Dantonio sheepishly chuckled and smiled.

“I was just trying to make it, man,” he mentioned.

Dantonio left Columbus in 2004 for his first head teaching job at Cincinnati, the place he spent three seasons earlier than taking up in 2007 at MSU. Tressel, who was fired at Ohio State in 2011, is now the president at Youngstown State University, the place he first labored with Dantonio from 1986-90.

“Talk to him quite often, especially during the football season,” Dantonio mentioned of Tressel. “I talked to him this final week earlier than our Penn State sport. We speak now and again, simply type of catch up and discuss soccer or regardless of the case.

“He has a relaxing impact on me. So I simply search for that once I name him. I simply search for the little calming impact. Probably name him once more this week.”

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