October 3, 2009

Homegrown talent produces in win over Michigan

EAST LANSING - With 46 players from the state of Michigan on the roster and a pair former Spartans on the coaching staff, beating Michigan is of utmost importance for the Michigan State football team.

Saturday's 26-20 overtime victory was extra sweet for those Michigan natives and Spartan alums on the coaching staff.

We just beat Michigan," said sophomore running back Glenn Winston from Detroit. "That sums it up right there. This just set the tone for the rest of the year now."

Winston had a big hand in the Spartan win. He rushed for 47 yards and scored the first touchdown of his Michigan State career on a 14-yard gain at the outset of the fourth quarter.

The Spartan offense had plenty of key contributions from Michigan natives who enjoyed a second consecutive win over the Wolverines.

Spartan wide receiver Blair White of Saginaw hauled in a game-high six passes for 49 yards. For White, whose breakout game came as a junior at Michigan with four catches for 143 yards including a memorable touchdown catch on third-and-five, seeing freshman running back Larry Caper run in from 23-yards out in overtime was extra sweet.

"Its probably one of the greatest things I felt in my life," White said. "We should have had a victory earlier on the offensive side of the ball. We could have made it 27-6 at one point. We had a bunch of opportunities but just to get a win against these guys in any way is huge for us."

Beating Michigan for a second time and in overtime was also memorable for sophomore wide receiver Keshawn Martin, who prepped at Westland John Glenn. Martin caught one pass for nine yards and carried the ball twice for 30 yards as he improved to 2-0 against the Wolverines so far in his young career.

"It feels good," Martin said. "I haven't lost to them yet so we're going to keep it to 3-0 next year. I don't want to make a guarantee but I think we'll come out strong every game."

For Spartan senior defensive end Trevor Anderson, the win means that he ends his career as a Spartan with a 2-0 record against the Wolverines. Anderson finished the game with five tackles including one-and-a-half tackles for loss.

"That's bragging rights to my high school coach," Anderson said. "As far as not losing to Michigan, that speech last year by Sherman Lewis, when he said he played against them three times and never lost to them, I played against then twice and never lost to them. That's big. That is big, especially for the in-state kids."
For junior right tackle D.J. Young of Lansing, the win against Michigan is something he can always share with his father, former Spartan tight end and Duane Young. Young received plenty of encouragement from his father and other former Spartans during the week leading up to the game.

"Words can't describe it," Young said. "I was watching a Michigan game from 1990, when they played them in Michigan, they played them down there, they played them down to the wire just as much as this game right here. It was a great feeling just to see Larry Caper score that touchdown, to have the victory to fall back on with my dad."

Even members of the Spartan coaching staff pointed to the intensity of their former Spartan alums as a key to keeping the intensity level at a high level leading up to the game.

"We have been fortunate in this game to have a couple guys on the staff, coach Dan Enos and coach Harlon Barnett," said offensive coordinator Don Treadwell. "I am just here to tell you guys that they carried us though the week and with the meaning and significance of this game. We have some young guys playing, as you know, and when I look back and think about some of the things that just helped us to keep moving forward, it was those guys. Those guys have helped us draw closer as a team and really understand what this game is all about. I just wanted to share that with you guys because they are both former captains here with the Spartans."

Enos, like 46 players on the Spartan roster, grew up in the state of Michigan and he played high school football in suburban Detroit before going on to have an outstanding career at quarterback for Michigan State.

Michigan State tight ends and tackles coach Mark Staten played high school football at Dowagiac and knew all about the Michigan State Michigan rivalry before coming back to his home state as part of Dantonio's staff when the third-year Spartan coach was hired in 2007.

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