by Patrick Yore at SpartyOn.com
Storming into week four of the football season on Javon Ringer's quadriceps, the 2008 Michigan State football team welcomes the Domers of Notre Dame into Spartan Stadium on Saturday with cautious eyes and an appetite for blood.
Here are eight things to know about the 2008 MSU team that has everything to prove while washing away lingering demons from the last home game vs. their piously positioned rivals from the banks of the Old Saint Joe :
1. State blanked a Florida Atlantic team 17-0 last Saturday that had scored a combined 60 points in their first two games.
2. Javon Ringer is the top running back in the NCAA this year with nine rushing touchdowns.
3. MSU traveled 2,328 miles to Cal for their first game of the season, where Brian Hoyer passed for 320 yards, they scored 31 points and had the ball with an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds. The end of the game was being played at 11:30 p.m. Michigan time.
4. Many members of the current team played in the infamous Sept. 23, 2006 Typhoon Bowl. It started out a celebration of the 1966 infamous "Greatest Game Ever Played" and ended in a complete disaster in front of the entire country on TV. Memories of that game will be expunged on every snap, on every hit, on every tackle.
5. MSU has beaten ND in eight of the last 11 games.
6. The State receiving corps of Deon Curry, BJ Cunningham, and Mark Dell will finally be at full strength this weekend for the first time this year.
7. 312.2 Pounds. That is the AVERAGE weight of the Spartan offensive line, which has only given up one sack in three games.
8. Mark Dantonio embodies not only the Spartans, and the University but he truly embodies Sparty himself. Not the world's largest free-standing ceramic sculpture, but the old Sparty mascot.
Not just in his always furrowed brow, nor his dark, concerned eyes that cast upon foolish linemen (I was one in high school) that jump offside at the exact wrong moment, but in his demeanor and foreboding presence.
It takes a lot to make Dani-boy smile, but then again, The Spartans are treading a precarious path of ice like a young lad on a frozen lake in wintertime.
The boy wants to enjoy every step, but he knows he can't. He must stay alert, always aware, because every step could bring shocking misfortune.
There is no cowboy-cussin' BS with Dantonio, just like the Spartans of Greece and The Spartans of East Lansing, Mich. Wouldn't it be great to see him show up on Saturday with a 5 o'clock shadow?
The team has taken on his persona, his drive and his hell-bent focus on settling for nothing but delivering the very best for the team, fans and university.
Better paint an extra layer of gold paint on those Riddels and stock up the medicine chest with Advil. This is going to hurt.
(The author runs THE Michigan State University Tailgate Website, www.SpartyOn.com, and blog at www.SpartyOnBlog.com )