Spartans Enjoying Bye Week

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- By usual measures, it would appear Michigan State's bye week comes at a strange time.
The Spartans don't play next week, getting a day off after enduring 11 straight games on consecutive Saturdays.
Most teams would have preferred a week off far earlier in the season. But this year, the late break comes at a perfect time for Michigan State.
It gives the No. 18 Spartans time to heal before their Nov. 22 trip to No. 7 Penn State, where at least a share of the Big Ten title will be on the line.
"Right now, we're not going to think too much about it," said Michigan State running back Javon Ringer, whose two touchdowns and 121 rushing yards led the Spartans to a 21-7 win over Purdue on Saturday. "We just want to make sure we heal up and take advantage of this bye week. But we definitely do understand that we basically have our destiny in our hands and we control what the outcome is."
The victory over the Boilermakers (3-7, 1-5 Big Ten) leaves Michigan State (9-2, 6-1) with a chance to win at least a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1990.
Michigan State will practice only once this week. That's a welcome relief for banged up players including Ringer and several others who are feeling the strain of 11 straight games.
"We need the week of rest, and we'll get it," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said.
Purdue won't make a bowl in Joe Tiller's final season as coach. The Boilermakers have two games left in the Tiller era, Saturday at Iowa and Nov. 22 at home against Indiana.
"It definitely hurts," Purdue wide receiver Greg Orton said of missing a bowl game. "So far it's just been really disappointing, but we are still going to work hard and get ready for Iowa."
Said linebacker Anthony Heygood: "The ball hasn't bounced our way this season. We've just got to try and stay optimistic about our last games and play hard."
Purdue has been depleted by injuries, particularly to the offensive line and to veteran quarterback Curtis Painter.
Painter has missed the past two games after starting 40 consecutive games. Backup Justin Siller injured a knee and bruised his sternum Saturday against Michigan State, but kept playing.
Purdue was limited to 191 yards of offense.


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