December 5, 2011

Elusive bowl victory motivates Dantonio, Spartans

Michigan State and Georgia enter December bowl practice still smarting after losing in respective conference championship games.

But the head coaches of each program expect their teams to represent their respective institutions well on the field in the Outback Bowl on January 2.

"Our senior class comes down there as the winningest class in Michigan State history," said Dantonio. "I am sure that they will want to end on a positive note and with their 11th game. We are looking forward to the challenge. We have a lot of respect for Georgia and what they've been able to accomplish in the past years and I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Richt as well."

Richt was impressed with Michigan State when the two teams last met on New Year's Day 2009 in the Capital One Bowl. Matt Stafford-led Georgia to a 25-12 victory over the Spartans in game that was within reach for both teams until late in the fourth quarter.

"The two teams are evenly-matched, we seem to kind of mirror each other," said Richt. "The last time we were together, it seemed like we were very similar record and how things went throughout the season. It looks like there are a lot of similarities this year all the way down to the turnover margin. We are both plus seven. There are a lot of things that are alike in terms of what we have been through and what we've been able to accomplish. Living through the pain of not winning your conference championship, both teams certainly want to finish with a strong game to end this season. I have a lot of respect for Coach Dantonio and all of the things that they do there and we are looking forward to the game."

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