(WXYZ) - College football fans around the nation are zeroing in on one game this weekend: Associated Press No. 3 ranked Oregon Ducks hosting No. 7 ranked Michigan State Spartans.
It’s a relatively uncommon spot for the Spartans. Aside from a marquee match-up against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Spartans don’t usually face a team ranked this highly, this early in the season.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio doesn’t care, though. He thinks his team is ready for the challenge.
He was asked at his weekly press conference if his team is at a point where “no game is too big,” and isn’t worried about going into a hostile environment against a top-ranked team.
“We don’t really worry about [the environment]. We’ve played big games,” said Dantonio.
“We’ve won away from home in every stadium in this conference. We’ve won our last three bowl games, played against good competition. We’ve been on a big stage at the Rose Bowl, at the championship games, at Penn State or wherever. I don’t worry about that, I’m more concerned about getting the job done. I don’t think we’re going to go in there and be intimidated.”
The big games Dantonio is referring to is the 2014 Rose Bowl against Stanford, when the Spartans beat the Cardinal 24-20. He’s also talking about two of the past three Big Ten Championship Games.
On Saturday, the Spartans will have to try to contain one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Marcus Mariota threw for 3,665 yards, 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions last year, and is one of the early favorites for the Heisman Trophy.
“Mariota is an outstanding quarterback,” said Dantonio. “What impresses me most about him is you can tell he has leadership. You can look at him on film and say the guy is tough, you can see he’s emotional and people follow him. He’s creative, and can take a bad play and make it a good one, whether it’s with his arm or his feet. “