Dantonio’s motto: No guts, no glory
Mark Dantonio’s Big Ten coaching colleagues don’t know if they could have pulled the trigger on calling the fake field goal that allowed Michigan State to stun Notre Dame on Saturday.
“He has a lot more guts than I have,” Joe Paterno said.
Indiana’s Bill Lynch said of the call: “I’m not sure I’ve seen one gutsier than that.”
Another perspective came from Spartans offensive coordinator Don Treadwell, who said: “How appropriate that it wasn’t an offensive call and it wasn’t a defensive call. It was a call by the head coach that determined that win.”
Appropriate because Dantonio is the lifeblood of a Michigan State program that now will have to make do without him for awhile. Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack just hours after the Spartans’ 34-31 victory.
There’s no word on when he will return to the sidelines, but a good sign came Tuesday when he was discharged from Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich., to return home.
“As a staff, we miss him deeply,” said Treadwell, who will assume the head-coaching duties in Dantonio’s absence. “We’re trying to keep things as normal here as we can.”
A new challenge emerged Wednesday with the troubling news tight end Dion Sims is among 10 people facing felony charges in connection with the theft of more than 100 laptops from the Detroit Public Schools. Wayne Country prosecutors allege Sims stole more than $158,000 in computers and sold them on the Web or to friends.
Sims, who appeared in 13 games last season as a freshman, was held out of the Spartans’ first three games and has been suspended indefinitely.
A sorry slate
These are the week’s Big Ten opponents: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Toledo and Austin Peay. Yes, Austin Peay, an FCS school from Tennessee best known as the home for ’70s basketball playground legend James “Fly” Williams, will venture to Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
And the league’s marquee matchup, as selected by ABC/ESPN for its 2:30 p.m. slot, is Eastern Michigan vs. Ohio State. The Eagles, losers of 15 straight, enter Ohio Stadium as 42 ½-point underdogs.
“You know me,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said by telephone. “I want to play the SEC in Florida, the Big 12 in Texas and the ACC every year (in basketball). That’s my view. But I don’t have any authority or control over nonconference football or basketball games.”
Schools such as Wisconsin would rather rack up a guaranteed victory heading into league play and save money, as FCS teams charge far less for a home visit than, say, Colorado ($1.4 million).
Around the league
-- Chris Borland’s season has been lost to injury, but Wisconsin’s star linebacker has not lost his sense of humor. After learning that he will need season-ending shoulder surgery, Borland told Badgers coach Bret Bielema: “If I can’t play football, I’ll at least kick for you, Coach.” Borland did go 3-for-3 in point-after attempts last season.
-- Iowa also suffered a major loss Saturday when running back Jewel Hampton went down with a knee injury that will require season-ending surgery. Backup Paki O’Meara is likely to miss Saturday’s Ball State game after suffering a concussion, so coach Kirk Ferentz said: “Right now we have Adam (Robinson) and anyone else who wants to volunteer.”
-- Michigan ranks last in the league in total defense, surrendering 439 yards per game. Indiana is first nationally in kickoff return average at 40.4 yards.
-- Northwestern defensive lineman Corbin Bryant has been named to Allstate’s Good Works Team for his leadership, academic and charitable work. Also from the Big Ten: Indiana’s Ben Chappell, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins and Penn State’s Stefan Wisniewski.